CARLOS CUELLAR insists Sunderland must draw the positives from their start to the season, rather than dwell on the shortcomings.
Sunderland have been below par in their last two Premier League outings against Manchester City and Newcastle United and only salvaged a point in last weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby with a fortuitous late own goal from Demba Ba.
Martin O’Neill’s men have scored just six times in their opening seven league games too, with their creative players yet to shine.
But it is far from all doom and gloom.
On the flip side of the coin, Sunderland have tasted defeat just once and would be ahead of the Magpies if they had won their postponed Stadium of Light clash against Reading.
Centre-half Cuellar said: “We are doing very well. People will say we have only won one game in the league, but we have only lost one game – that was against Manchester City, the champions.
“The team is stronger and I just feel the key for us is to create more chances, score more goals. The look and the confidence of the team is fantastic and we are all confident we will be higher up the table.
“I don’t think if we had lost Sunday’s game we would have been down for the rest of the season. Everybody knew it was one of the most important games for us, but the season is long.
“The main thing is to finish as high as possible and to win all the games.
“It is good we got the point though because the atmosphere is still high. We still believe now, that’s the main thing.”
Cuellar, who had featured for Rangers in an Old Firm clash, made his North East derby bow on Sunday and was one of Sunderland’s better performers.
“The crowd was fantastic, amazing, for every minute of the derby,” added the Spaniard.
“It was a very intense game, nobody wanted to do anything crazy, and it was a very good game.
“We always believed we could get the equaliser. It was frustrating the goal didn’t come earlier. Had it come earlier, then we could have gone on to win it.
“We knew the Newcastle game, as well as the return game next year, would be the two biggest of the season for us.
“We are professionals and as professionals, you have to come back from bad moments when they arrive. I feel we did that. We are prepared for everything.”