Larsson: Sunderland beginning to gel

Seb Larsson

Seb Larsson

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SEB LARSSON believes Sunderland’s summer arrivals are beginning to knit into a more cohesive unit.

Swedish international Larsson was one of 11 players signed by Steve Bruce during the summer, with the new-look side taking its time to settle after notching just six points from the opening eight games.

But a victory and draw against Bolton and Aston Villa respectively have boosted Sunderland’s confidence ahead of Saturday’s trip to reigning Premier League champions Manchester United.

Larsson said: “We’ve been together a while now and I think you can see in certain parts of games that we are starting to find each other, we are starting to find out how each other plays.

“We just need to keep going and keep working on that.

“Unfortunately, we went behind twice in the game on Saturday against Aston Villa and that’s kind of been our Achilles heel in the Premier League this season. You leave yourself a mountain to climb.

“We have only been ahead in two games this season and won both of them fairly comfortably.

“We need to make sure we get that first goal as many times as possible.

“United is one of those games where you want to play, you want to test yourself.

“It is arguably the toughest fixture of the season, but, at the same time, I suppose this is one of the games where no-one expects anything from us.

“The pressure is not on us to produce in Manchester.

“We’re going to go out and nothing is every impossible.

“We’re going with a game plan to try to get something out of the game.”

Larsson has been one of the big success stories of Bruce’s summer spending spree, with the Bosman acquisition from relegated Birmingham City topping Sunderland’s scoring charts with three.

The 26-year-old has also vastly improved Sunderland’s threat from set pieces – providing the assist for Stephane Sessegnon’s late, headed equaliser with an 89th-minute free-kick against Villa last weekend.

“I’m not going to lie and say I practise for an extra half an hour every day to get it right,” he added.

“But as long as I can remember I’ve really enjoyed free-kicks and set pieces in general – I love that part of the game.

“Even when I was a kid, people wanted to dribble and take on players, but I wanted to take free-kicks and stuff like that.

“When you are given that responsibility, it is a big responsibility in the modern game.

“It is nice to see it pay off every now and then.”