The Black Cats have won one game in the Premier League so far this season and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup last night by local rivals Middlesbrough, who play their football a division below in the Championship.
Despite insisting that Martin O'Neill is the right man to guide the club, Gabbiadini has urged the Irish manager to acquire an advanced midfielder during the January transfer window.
"People still believe in O'Neill, but we're missing a key man in midfield who can take the game to teams," Gabbiadini told talkSPORT. "The creativity question is the biggest one O'Neill has to answer. If you look at the names on the team-sheet, most people were quite excited about this season.
"He's looking to play with two wide men who like taking their man on and getting to the byline. But the big issue is how we raise the tempo. It's really laboured at times.
"By the time we get the ball out wide we're allowing teams time to get men behind the ball. O'Neill has got to find a spark from somewhere."
Sunderland are currently 14th in the Premier League table.