Seb Larsson hopes the reunion of Sunderland’s full squad will prompt an upturn in pre-season performances.
Dick Advocaat’s men travelled here to Toronto immediately after Saturday morning’s friendly defeat to Club de Futbol Pachuba, where they found Adam Johnson, Sebastian Coates and Patrick van Aanholt, plus new signings Younes Kaboul and Jeremain Lens, all waiting for them.
It’s only good for us to have some more players join us.Seb Larsson
Johnson, Coates and van Aanholt didn’t travel to California on the first leg of Sunderland’s North American tour for various reasons, while moves for Lens and Kaboul were only signed and sealed last week.
Without them, Advocaat’s options have been depleted, with several players deployed out of their natural positions - striker Jermain Defoe, for example, starting both friendlies in California on the left wing.
But with the extra bodies on board, midfielder Larsson is looking for an improvement in Wednesday’s friendly against Toronto.
Larsson told the Echo: “It’s only good for us to have some more players join us.
“Obviously, there’s been quite a few lads having to play out of position in the last two games.
“I hope the performances begin to improve from the Toronto game onwards.
“I’m sure the manager will be looking at this game and it will be a little bit more important the way we play and the way we perform.
“We’ve got a few days now to prepare for that game, work hard and hopefully be a bit sharper and perform better.”
However, like Advocaat, Larsson was thoroughly unfazed by the back-to-back defeats against Sacramento Republic and Club de Futbol Pachuba in California.
“Obviously you always want to win games, but the results don’t matter,” he added.
“We’re not going to worry too much about them at this stage of pre-season.
“It’s about getting minutes under your belt in tough conditions and hopefully we’ll get a lot from it.
“The heat (in California) has not exactly been what we’re used to, but hopefully once we get back to the UK, it will feel a lot easier.
“And listen, we’re working hard.
“We’ve been doing two sessions a day and that’s what it’s about.
“You’re not meant to have fresh legs yet, but hopefully they will come soon.”