NICKLAS Bendtner says he is relishing the fresh start that Sunderland have given him and the on-loan Arsenal man says he is determined to make the most of it.
The Dane who, along with fellow marksman Ahmed Elmohamady, scored his first goal in Sunderland colours in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Brom, and he believes that better things now lie around the corner both for him and for the Black Cats.
“It’s a new opportunity,” he said. “At Arsenal, I played, then I had a terrible car crash and it was difficult for me to get back into the team.
“I had a few games here and there, but the main thing was when I played I was not happy.
“I wasn’t happy going on to the pitch or playing and no-one is any good when they aren’t happy, are they?
“I needed this break to get happy again.
“I knew this was the place that could fulfil my ambitions and make me smile again in the morning.
“I am much happier now and I look forward to training. I have not felt like that for a very long time.”
Happy or not in training, Bendtner would have been as miserable as any Sunderland supporter when his side shipped two goals in the opening five minutes against West Brom.
It looked as though Sunderland would go on to under-perform, just as they had against Norwich City last Monday, but Bendtner said the setback only showed the Wearsiders were made of stern stuff.
“It was a huge setback for us to go two goals down inside five minutes,” he acknowledged.
“But it was not a hangover from Monday’s defeat or the week at all.
“We were all shell-shocked – we knew we had to overcome that and so all the courage and heart we showed was the key.
“We recovered, and we have to look at that rather than the start even though it was shocking.”
Bendtner scored Sunderland’s first and then put in the cross for Elmohamady’s leveller and believes that now he has opened his account he has every chance of adding to his total in the weeks ahead.
“I was very delighted with the goal,” he said.
“I knew Seb Larsson was going to drag it back because he had seen me, but, as I saw the tackle coming in, I thought ‘Oh no’, because it was difficult and I had to shoot first touch.
“But then it deflected in and I was very pleased because it’s always special to get off the mark no matter how it goes in.
“I was a bit unlucky against Norwich, but then again it was always going to come at some point.
“If you keep putting yourself in the box and keep getting in amongst the chances, it will come for sure.”