With just 12 goals from 13 games and only two wins to their name, the Black Cats have endured a difficult start to the season.
And while Bardsley is convinced the attitude of the players cannot be questioned, he believes his team-mates may need to be more ambitious in possession.
"The work ethic is there for everyone to see but there are times we need to force that pass to create something," said the 27-year-old, quoted in the Daily Star.
"That may mean giving the ball away at times, but sometimes we're too comfortable in possession.
"We've got to get forward into the right areas and pass to those players with a bit of guile and flair.
"We are struggling to do that. It's not going great, but if we keep plugging away, I'm sure it will come.
"There's no lack of trying. The lads are working their socks off and running about trying to win the game, but little things are not quite coming off for us."
Sunderland could only draw 0-0 at home to Premier League bottom club QPR on Tuesday evening.