AHMED Elmohamady insists he is beginning to reap the rewards from his Premier League education.
The Egyptian winger impressed in Sunderland’s maiden victory of the campaign against Stoke City on Sunday after returning to the starting line-up following a two-game absence.
Elmohamady was always going to face a steep cultural and footballing learning curve to get to grips with the Premier League after initially moving on loan from Egyptian outfit ENPPI last season.
In the 24-year-old’s year-and-a-bit at the Stadium of Light, he has suffered from indifferent patches of form, even though he did enough to earn a permanent switch to Sunderland during the summer.
But Elmohamady feels he learns lesson from every Premier League outing and claims he is a much-improved player to the one who first joined Sunderland.
Elmohamady told the Echo: “I’ve been here for a year now and every game I learn something new.
“That’s why I’m a better player than last season and I think we’re seeing that with my performances. It was great for me to come back in the team and for us to win on Sunday as well.
“I’ve got to try to keep my place though.
“I work hard in training and during the games because I want to play every game.”
The 4-0 victory over Stoke lifted the gloom hanging over Wearside, stemming from a sluggish start to the campaign from Steve Bruce’s men.
Elmohamady believes the swell of negativity was over the top considering Sunderland had faced two clubs with Champions League aspirations and succumbed to the unpredictably of a derby.
But the 42-time Egyptian international knows Sunderland cannot let the victory be a one-off as they prepare for next Monday’s trip to newly-promoted Norwich City.
“We started the season with two draws away from home and we had two big games at home,” added Elmohamady. “People might have been thinking we’re not doing well, but we’ve had tough games. But we worked hard against Stoke and got the result we wanted.
“It’s very important for us to keep winning.
“Sometimes you’re down in the Premier League when you go a long time without a win. But after beating Stoke, we need to get another one.
“It’s always difficult against a team like that who play long balls. But I think we won because we tried to play football. It helped a lot that we got an early goal and they came quickly – one, two, three.
“Every player did well, concentrated hard throughout the game. We were quick, strong and we’ll do well if we play like that every game.”