STEPHANE Sessegnon insists his priceless opening goal of the season needs to spark Sunderland’s first back-to-back victories of the campaign.
Sessegnon’s 82nd minute strike proved the catalyst for a crucial three points at Bolton on Saturday, easing the pressure on Black Cats boss Steve Bruce and moving Sunderland away from the drop zone in a congested bottom half of the Premier League table.
But given Sunderland have only averaged a modest point per game, the Benin international knows the importance of building on a fifth successive victory over the Trotters when the Black Cats entertain Darren Bent’s Aston Villa this weekend.
Sunderland have not recorded back-to-back wins since their 1-0 success at Villa Park in January and Sessegnon, switched to the wing to accommodate impressive debutant Connor Wickham, hopes his goal proves to be the one that kick-starts Sunderland’s campaign.
Sessegnon told the Echo: “We have to confirm the victory from Saturday by getting a win against Aston Villa as well.
“The only way we’re going to reach our full potential is to win a few games and we can’t afford to let the weekend be a one-off.
“The last few weeks have been difficult because when you’re not winning games, it’s complicated.
“We had to change and start getting some points, but there’s a good group here with some good players and we kept our confidence that we would win some matches.
“But obviously when you’re losing, it doesn’t help. It was an important goal because we had to go out there and get a better result.
“It was important for me also because I hadn’t scored this season. But to get the win for the team was the most important thing of all.”
Sessegnon was one of those players who helped Sunderland dominate the second half at the Reebok Stadium after a desperately poor opening 45 minutes from both struggling sides.
Sunderland had far more purpose after the break and their pressure finally paid off in the final 10 minutes when Sessegnon drove home in a goalmouth scramble from Seb Larsson’s corner before Nicklas Bendtner wrapped up the victory in stoppage time.
“Before the goal, we were looking at getting a minimum of one point, but it was important that we got the win,” added the 27-year-old. “It was a difficult end to the game when they put us under some pressure, but we were delighted to get the second goal and the win.
“You can say that the first 45 minutes weren’t great, but we had to make sure that we didn’t concede a goal. Our passing wasn’t good and we didn’t work well together.
“There weren’t opportunities for either side, but we took more risks in the second half and that was the difference between the two sides.
“Getting the three points by the end of the game was the most important thing.”