Sunderland defender opens up on relegation disappointment and aims for the season

Oviedo made his league return at Oakwell
Oviedo made his league return at Oakwell

Bryan Oviedo says he is determined to put right Sunderland’s meek relegation from the Premier League this season.

Oviedo arrived in January as a replacement for Patrick van Aanholt but could not halt the slide towards the second tier. The Costa Rican struggled with injuries but has since returned to competitive action and looks set to be a first team regular this season and is determined to help restore a winning mentality at Sunderland.

He said: “It’s not easy [relegation]. It’s really difficult, especially when you saw people crying around the club. It was difficult for me, it was a difficult moment but you need to continue, you can’t live in the past. Now the most important thing for us is to make people happy by winning every game and to be in the Premier League next season.

“Yes, we’re working for that [restore pride]. It’s the most important thing for us that we’re working in every training session to have a winning mentality because we have a strong team, a very good team so we need to be up at the top, starting at the weekend.”

“Last season was difficult for everyone. It was not easy because normally we were playing well but we lost. It’s not nice,” he added.

“This season is different. We need to have a winning mentality, that is the most important thing because for me and for everyone we want to be in the Premier League next season. That’s the most important thing for us.”

Sunderland are meanwhile hoping for positive news on the injury front ahead of this weekend’s game against Sheffield United.

Aiden McGeady is a doubt for Ireland’s crunch qualifier against Serbia at the Aviva Stadium tonight having undergone a scan on a hamstring problem. The 31-year-old did, however, take part in his team’s warm-up for the game on Monday and so the Black Cats will be hopeful that he can play on Saturday.

Lamine Kone, meanwhile, has said he is fit to play after surprisingly missing Ivory Coast’s 3-0 win over Gabon on Saturday. The two sides meet again tonight with Didier Ndong set to star against Kone.