Patrick van Aanholt is glad to have turned around his fortunes after admitting he began the season “very badly”.
Van Aanholt was one of the principle culprits during Sunderland’s struggles at the start of the campaign after making a series of costly clangers, before ex-boss Dick Advocaat eventually lost patience with the Dutch full-back.
I had my ups and downs, but since the new gaffer came in, he’s given everyone a chancePatrick van Aanholt
But the 25-year-old has started three of Sunderland’s last four games as a left-sided wing-back and been much more comfortable - netting a priceless first Premier League goal to open the scoring in the Black Cats’ victory over Stoke on Saturday.
“I started the season very badly and that happens with young players coming to the Premier League,” said van Aanholt.
“I had my ups and downs, but since the new gaffer came in, he’s given everyone a chance.
“I’m glad I’m playing and I’ve got my first Premier League goal.”
Van Aanholt’s 82nd minute long-ranger finally gave Sunderland the breakthrough against 10-man Stoke after the Potters had frustrated the Black Cats’ efforts, following the dismissal of Ryan Shawcross early in the second half.
After going ahead, man of the match substitute Duncan Watmore sealed the victory two minutes later, to move Sunderland out of the bottom three for the first time since the opening day.
Van Aanholt added: “Duncan is a good young player. He’s got potential and knows he is quick, so he can run at people.
“That’s what he did. He was dangerous, made an impact on the team and helped us get the three points.
“The win gives us a boost. We got three points at Crystal Palace and the gaffer said we had to carry on and try to get another three points against Stoke.
“We worked our socks off and we got our result in the end.
“We’ve got to believe in ourselves and keep going now.”