Sunderland boss David Moyes says the absence of Nigerian forward Victor Anichebe will mean the Black Cats reverting to a more counter-attacking play.
After a poor start to the season, Anichebe was instrumental in Sunderland's good spell as his build-up play helped improve the attacking third of the team.
But since his injury at Burnley on New Year’s Eve, Sunderland have won just once and are currently bottom in the league.
“We may have to play a little bit on the counter-attack and play quite fast football. We spoke to the players about it and I think they understand," Moyes told Sunderland Echo.
“We’re trying to get more balls in the box, more people in the box. It’s the only way we’re going to score goals. As well as, say, Adnan (Januzaj) or Fabio (Borini) and Jermain (Defoe), we’re trying to get some of the midfield players further up.
“Ndong got himself a goal [at Selhurst Park], albeit from outside the box. We’re having to really try and find a way.
“I think so [3-5-2 being a solution]. What I do think is it will change. It will change again because of what the opposition can do to you, maybe you’re chasing a game and you need to do it in a different way, you need to look at different things.
“But I think when we lost Victor (Anichebe), that was the key to it. We needed to keep looking for another way to get up the pitch, to have two forwards playing and not to be too exposed defensively. Because we had been making mistakes and conceding goals, I had to make sure we could shore it up a little bit as well.”