Ola Toivonen says the calibre of players Dick Advocaat has brought to the Stadium of Light this summer made him jump at the chance of joining Sunderland.
New signing Toivonen made an instant impact on his Sunderland debut in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Aston Villa after the half-time substitute laid on the pass for Jeremain Lens’ second half equaliser.
You can see what kind of players we have here, and I think it’s only going to get betterOla Toivonen
Toivonen had enjoyed just one training session with his new team-mates prior to the trip to Villa Park after penning a season-long loan from French side Rennes late last week.
But while he was unable to help Sunderland record a first Premier League victory of the campaign, the Swedish international believes the top flight’s basement boys are on the right track under Advocaat.
Summer signings Lens, Toivonen, Yann M’Vila and Younes Kaboul were the stand-out figures at Villa Park, even if the latter trio are still getting up to speed fitness-wise.
Toivonen said: “You can see what kind of players we have here, and I think it’s only going to get better.
“M’Vila is a quality player, so he’s only going to get better with more fitness because he hasn’t played for a long time.
“And the same goes for Kaboul, who needs to get a bit more fitness, like me.
“This international break is a good time for the whole club to get fit and train.”
Toivonen was part of a double half-time substitution from Advocaat, with Sunderland trailing 2-1 at the interval, despite M’Vila’s goal giving the Black Cats the lead for the first time in the Premier League this season.
And within seven minutes of Toivonen’s debut in English football, he won the ball and fed Lens to open his account for Sunderland.
“It’s always nice to get some minutes, especially when you’re at a new club and in a new league,” added Toivonen, now with the Sweden squad ahead of Euro 2016 qualifiers against Russia and Austria.
“It was a fantastic experience, so I’m happy.
“I was a little bit lucky when I won the ball in the middle and Jeremain was screaming that he had space, so I put it there and he managed to score.”