STEVEN Fletcher hopes his debut double has silenced those questioning his lofty price tag.
Eyebrows were raised when Sunderland splashed out £12million on Fletcher last month after the Scottish striker had suffered two relegations in three years with Wolves and Burnley.
But the 25-year-old provided some instant payback on Sunderland’s investment when he notched a brace on his Premier League bow for the Black Cats at Swansea last weekend.
Fletcher admits there is a sense of relief at breaking his Sunderland duck and, more importantly, preventing his fee becoming a talking point.
He told the Echo: “There’s always people talking about it (the fee).
“I’m just happy to get the two goals to repay the gaffer and his faith in bringing me here to the club.
“It takes a lot of pressure off myself because obviously the fans are going to expect goals. Hopefully I can get a few more now.
“It is a big relief. I’m just happy the ball went into the back of the net.”
Fletcher believes the support from his Sunderland team-mates has helped to banish any thoughts over the Black Cats’ outlay.
Sunderland were desperate for a clinical finisher this summer and after boss Martin O’Neill selected Fletcher as the answer to that problem, the frontman says the welcome at the Stadium of Light has helped him to hit the ground running.
“If you feel settled at a club, then you’ll do well,” said Fletcher.
“I did that at Wolves and the boys were fantastic with me. I felt that same thing straightaway when I came here. Everyone’s been fantastic.”
With Fletcher’s spat with Scotland boss Craig Levein seeing him exiled from the international scene, the striker faces a further 12 days before he can add to his tally when Sunderland host Liverpool a week on Saturday.
Unlike Sunderland, Liverpool’s summer overhaul has failed to spark the club into life after taking just a point from their opening three games.
And after ending Swansea’s 100 per cent record, Fletcher believes Sunderland head into their first home league game in confident mood.
He added: “I’m looking forward to it. They’re the games you want to be in. Liverpool are in the same boat as us, they’ve got new players who are getting used to each other so it should be a good game.
“We knew going to Swansea it was going to be tough. They’re a great side and they pass the ball fantastically well.
“We knew we weren’t going to get many chances. But the ones we did get, we managed to put away which was good.”