Jan Kirchhoff: Dubai trip has brought Sunderland squad closer together

Sunderland's Jan Kirchhoff in action against Manchester United
Sunderland's Jan Kirchhoff in action against Manchester United
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January recruit Jan Kirchhoff believes the warm-weather training camp in Dubai has brought the Sunderland squad closer together.

And the 25-year-old German, signed from Bayern Munich, believes Sam Allardyce's squad are capable of coming back from West Ham United with three crucial points to aid their survival battle.

Sunderland, 19th in the Premier League, are a point from safety ahead of tomorrow's lunchtime kick-off at Upton Park - the club's final visit to the stadium before the Hammers relocate to the Olympic Stadium.

Ahead of the game, Kirchhoff says the trip to the Middle East was the perfect chance for himself and the four other January signings - Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri, Steve Harper and Dame N'Doye - to get to know their new teammates.

Kirchhoff said: "It was good for us as a team because we have had a lot of new players to integrate so it was good to spend a lot of time with the guys and get to know each other and grow up as a group.

"It's important because it is not all about the individual qualities it's about how we have to act and play as a team.

"I think it has been a big benefit for us to be successful."

The Black Cats head to Upton Park in good form after picking up four points against Liverpool and Manchester United before the enforced break after being knocked out of the FA Cup at the third round stage.

Sunderland have 12 games left to safe the club from the drop and Kirchhoff, available for selection after recovering from a hamstring injury, insists confidence levels are soaring for the run-in.

He added: "We are really happy right now, the last five opponents have been really strong but we have got a lot of points.

"We deserved more against Manchester City but we played a good game and we have to stay in there, hold up our intensity and power in the training sessions to get a lot of points.

"We are in a good way and we have to create a good feeling for West Ham because we have had a good week training so we’re going there to win the game and get three more points to get us up the table," added Kirchhoff, who has signed an 18-month deal at the Stadium of Light.