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SEB’S BACK
OVER TIME FOR KONE & PAPPY

Sebastian Larsson is delighted to be back in action after his injury woes and is looking forward to more hard work for Sunderland in the months ahead. He said: “We have had a few good weeks now. We needed to as well after the start we had. There was no other option, we had to start winning games. That’s three wins in four but it is by no means put us out of trouble. At least it has given everyone a lift. There’s new-found belief in the dressing room and the table looks a lot better compared to a few weeks ago when it was pretty grim reading. It’s there now for everyone to see that we can do it after three wins in four, it is no mean feat in the Premier League. We are now proving we can win games, so no more excuses. But we have got into the rhythm now, so let’s just keep it going. We never totally lost our belief,” he added. “I think we have drawn a bit of strength from some of our previous campaigns when we have had very poor starts, although this one was as bad as probably any of them. (At its worst it was the poorest in Premier League history.) It is still so early in the season, I have heard people giving us no chance. There might be some who still do that, it’s up to us to prove them wrong. There are plenty of games for us to continue turning things around, there is plenty still to play for. The biggest things for us is the strength we can draw from previous years. The knowledge that we have been in very trick situations before, then suddenly we have been able to click and pick it up has always kept us going. What makes it so frustrating is that it is another bad start for us this season. But hey, it has happened.”

“I’ve been out a long time,” he added: “I have just been sitting in the stands watching the team play, but that’s not me. I have stayed positive but I have had to be patient. I have been back training for a good few weeks. There were one or two nerves but I have been involved in football for a while now, so it is not like dealing with things when you were younger. I was just desperate to get involved again. It could have ended up with me being out for the whole season. There was a real possibility of that if things hadn’t gone the way they did, you just have to keep a positive mindset. But the operation really helped me. I felt it was a relief to get it done. I knew it would mean I would be out for quite a while but I couldn’t carry on the way I had been for the previous 18 months. Once I woke up from surgery I felt actual relief. It was easy to keep the positivity about it.”

In other news, David Moyes reckons that Lamine Kone and Papy Djilobodji are benefitting from the extra training sessions that he’s been putting the defence through. “We are putting in a lot of work to both of them, Lamine and Papy. They’ll not thank me for having them out in the afternoons as often as they are. But I think Lamine has a lot of qualities going for him, his positional play has got better and Papy, you can see, is improving as well. This week, the defenders were in on afternoons. Even though we did well at Liverpool, this was going to be different. They were going to be a threat with Vardy running in behind. Mahrez has ability and we were not sure who would be up front, Islam Slimani or Shinji Okazaki. We had a difficult problem. The defenders played well and Lamine is playing much better. Whoever the centre-halves are going to be, we need them if we are to have any chance of survival.”

Here's an excerpt from our new book Six in a Row to give you an idea of how strange and amazing it is... Certainly not your average football book click here

For a full Leicester match report Click Here

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post leicester craic…
REACTION

Sunderland moved off the bottom of the league thanks to a 2-1 victory over reigning Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday at the SOL. The lads’ well deserved third win in four games came courtesy of a Robert Huth own goal and a Jermain Defoe strike with Claudio Ranieri’s side netting a consolation through Shinji Okazaki.

Matchwinner Jermain Defoe had this to say afterwards: "Leicester are a great side, the champions, but our energy levels once again were good, setting the standard from the first minute. From the goalkeeper all the way through the side, everyone played their parts and did well, and it's three points. You're now seeing what our new lads and our manager can do. We're improving so much and it's exactly what the manager wants. We could have scored more, but at 2-1 we'll take that win against a good side."

David Moyes added: "I thought we played well today, probably the best we've played. We made a few chances in the first half but we maybe lacked that final pass. Fortunately we got the goals. I think the performances have been growing and we've been getting better. We've been showing signs of improving in attacking and defending. I thought for the majority of today's game we did that."

"Jermain was fantastic and because we have a striker of that quality, that calibre, it gives us a great chance," added Moyes. "But it would be remiss of me not to mention Victor. The way he has performed he has allowed us to build up play through him and given us another option Victor was a bit unlucky not to score in the first half. We needed Victor really to turn things in our favour in the second half when it just looked like it might be going away from us a bit. He does a really good job for us. I think it's a start. I hope we play an awful lot better than that in the future and hope we do better all round. What we've done of late is that we have defended a lot better and, more importantly, we've attacked much better. For most of the match I think we did that, we attacked well, especially in the early part of the game and we defended when we had to. If we can [continue to] do that then we'll be OK. We might never be top at either of them but we have to try to be the best we can at both of them. If we can win another three out of four we'll be in a really good position. We all know we've got a long way to go but we are moving in the right direction. You can only win the games put in front of you and we are winning them, at the moment."

The only downside to the victory over Leicester was the injury Duncan Watmore sustained. “Unfortunately, it looks like we might have another difficult injury with Duncan Watmore,” said David Moyes. “We can’t confirm what it is just now, but it doesn’t great. We’ve just lost two other young players in Lynden Gooch and Paddy McNair, so to lose another is very disappointing. It was his knee. We don’t know how bad it is yet, but the early verdict doesn’t sound too good.”

HERE’S ALS’ ITV SPORT BLOG (V LEICESTER)

Disappointed but not downhearted was probably the most applicable term for Sunderland supporters in the aftermath of the loss at Liverpool, but in general the mood is upbeat – far too upbeat for a team holding up the other nineteen in the division. That’s what years of being in a similar situation does for the character, and things on the injury front (poor Paddy McNair excepted, of course) are gradually improving with Seb and Kirchhoff getting more “game-time” under their belts.

There has also been the revelation that Sunderland AFC is up for sale – which is probably runs “Pickford is a good goal-keeper” pretty close for one of the least revealing revelations of the season to date. Virtually every club is for sale should a suitable offer be forthcoming, but the news that
Inner Circle Sports, a New York based investment bank – which sounds entirely unsuitable for handling anything to do with an English Football Club, but we’ll see – have been given the task of producing what is basically a brochure to be perused by interested parties as and when they fancy chucking a few hundred million in Ellis’s general direction.

I probably wasn’t the only Sunderland fan who had no idea that PVA played a dozen games for Leicester five years ago, but at least it gave us the “former player situation” that normally works against us. Add that to the fact that two wins in November warranted Mr Moyes being shortlisted for the Manager of the Month award, so vote if you can, please. It’s a funny old game, football.

And then came Leicester. Yes, Leicester, we know exactly what you are. You’re the champions of England, but  you simply weren’t as good as us on the day – despite Mr Marriner’s best efforts to spoil things, we managed a proper game of football and ran out deserved 2-1 winners. Three out of four aint bad, and it helps us on our inexorable (hopefully) climb up the table.
Happy days indeed.

In other news, David Moyes was asked if he felt the players could be effected by Ellis Short trying to sell the club. He said: "No, no. I got it every sixth months or every year at Everton, we were going to be sold, we were going to be this. Did it ever affect the players? Never. Will it affect the players here? No. For me, it is business as usual and focus on the next game. Don’t lose your focus and keep looking forward. I think most people are aware that there may well be something going on. I don’t think it was massive news. If there is something going on, then I’m sure the people who are involved will make it happen.”

David Moyes has been chatting about how he’ll cope with losing so many players when the Africa Cup of Nations comes around. Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri, Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji could all be missing for much of January. Moyes said: “Yes, we are thinking about it all the time. We have been preparing and thinking about ‘if they did get knocked out when would they be back or if they got through to the final when would they be back etc.’ We are aware the Africa Cup of Nations is looming. Thankfully we are beginning to get the likes of Seb Larsson, Jan Kirchhoff and Fabio Borini back. I am hoping, by the time January comes around, we will certainly have Jack Rodwell back too.”

Moyes also touched on the next transfer window. “There is a plan (for January), and it has to be a plan for different scenarios. You don’t always know what scenario you are planning for. A couple of wins in the bag would make things look completely different. If not, it will look like a monster of a journey to get out of it. We need to show everyone that we are going in an upward direction, our supporters, and also if we want to add players.”

Here's an excerpt from our new book Six in a Row to give you an idea of how strange and amazing it is... Certainly not your average football book click here

For a full Leicester match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

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