Steven Pienaar: It was an unforgettable experience to be part of Sunderland - but it was worst season of my career
Sunderland midfielder Steven Pienaar says he will never forget his time at Sunderland - even if it was the worst season of his career.
The 35-year-old was brought to Wearside last summer on a free transfer by David Moyes, who he had worked with at Everton.
A series of injuries curtailed his contribution, and the South Africa international couldn't help save Sunderland from the drop.
Out of contract at the end of the month, Pienaar won't be at the club next season, and instead could return to his homeland - though he says he won't forget the city.
He said: (It was) by far the most disappointing season of my career, a season where I also battled lots of injuries.
"One obviously draws strength from the fact that there are people that count on you, who believe in you, and you don’t want to let them down.
"I lived 30 minutes outside of Sunderland so I was not actually in the city - I went there daily for training and of course matches.
"When in the city you feel the impact the club has on the people there, how everyone lives their lives around the club. It was an unforgettable experience to be part of the club.
"It’s a pity things did not eventually work out for us this season."
Despite relegation, and the club being in turmoil amid takeover talk and the inability to appoint a new manager after Moyes' resignation, Pienaar has still backed the club to bounce straight back into the top flight.
Sunderland is a massive club with great support so they have all the tools to come back to the Premier League," he added in an interview with SuperSport.com.
"They need to get in the right players with the right attitude and drive. I have no doubt that they can bounce back immediately.
"I am still to decide on my future but in the next month it will be much clearer. I would like to continue for the next two years - despite the injuries of the past season I feel I can still go on."