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.”
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