Sunderland quality can bring consistency, insists Larsson

Seb Larsson takes on Manchester United in midweek. Picture by Peter Berry

Seb Larsson takes on Manchester United in midweek. Picture by Peter Berry

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SEB Larsson says Sunderland cannot afford occasionally fantastic performances to be swamped by poor ones in the second half of the season.

Despite a miserable run of results which have left the Black Cats bottom of the Premier League pile at the turn of the New Year, there have also been some great highlights for Sunderland fans in the campaign so far.

League victories over Newcastle United, Manchester City and Everton have all been memorable matches, while cup wins over Southampton, Chelsea and Manchester United have taken the Black Cats to the brink of a Wembley appearance.

But Larsson insists that isolated highlights – however thrilling – are not good enough to save Sunderland’s Premier League skins.

And he says that the Black Cats have to target a sustained run of good results from now now on – starting with Fulham at Craven Cottage tomorrow.

“We’ve been solid away from home of late and before the Aston Villa defeat we were five games unbeaten overall,” said the 28-year-old Swede.

“So we need to pick up from there and hopefully put in a solid performance against Fulham.

“It comes back to the same thing – performing on a regular basis.

“But we’ll keep plugging away and working hard because we know the quality is there.”

Larsson is certain that consistently good performances are the key to staying up this season.

And he added that a run of only one defeat in eight going into this weekend, capped off by the 2-1 win over Premier League champions Manchester United in the midweek Capital One Cup semi-final first leg, has fuelled faith that the Black Cats can pull Premier League survival out of the bag.

A victory at Craven Cottage tomorrow would take Sunderland to within a point of bursting out of the bottom three.

And Larsson says that, with self-confidence growing among Gus Poyet’s players, the team needs to go out and get the results to match the burgeoning feel-good factor at the club.

“We have that belief within the squad, but we have to do it on a regular basis,” he said.

“I think it’s a bigger game than the United one because we know where we are in the league and that we need to start winning games.

“We know we have that quality and we’ve shown that on different occasions against some of the best teams.

“Now it’s about doing that week in, week out on a consistent basis and we’ve been working hard to try and achieve that.”

Sunderland go into the weekend unbeaten in their last four games away home, having conceded only twice on their travels during that time.