SEB Larsson says the real Sunderland stood up at Manchester City at the weekend.
And now the Swede wants the Black Cats to take that form into the club’s last remaining seven games – starting with Spurs this Saturday.
Sunderland were as good against City at the weekend as they were poor against Everton five days previously.
However, Larsson insists the City display is what Sunderland are all about.
“That was more like us,” he said. “We showed, as we have quite a few times in the last few months, that we are a team who can play quality football and can give the top teams a game.”
Larsson revealed the players were on a mission at the Etihad to lay the ghost of their damp squib cup exit.
“We wanted to show pride in our performance,” he said.
“We started the game really well and I think that’s important at grounds like City’s.
“We were told before the game to take care with the ball, to hold on to it in the first five minutes, make good touches.
“We were told ‘get your confidence and you will find space’ and that’s what happened because we’ve got the players who can do that.
“We showed we can be a good team.
“The dressing room afterwards was full of disappointment after the game and I guess that tells its own story.
“We came to the Etihad, scored three great goals and more importantly, we showed what we could do on the ball.
“It was important because we were so disappointed by the way we played against Everton in the cup earlier in the week.
“We didn’t pass it or handle it well in that game, but we bounced back with our display against City and showed how good we could be in possession.”
Larsson was disappointed, though, that Sunderland could not have held on for victory because he felt it would have been deserved.
“We played well and at 3-1 up we felt comfortable,” he said.
“We didn’t think they were hurting us, but then sometimes there’s nothing you can do when the opposition scores a penalty and two shots that come through bodies in the area.
“You have to give them credit for getting back into the game, but we didn’t think that was going to come in the last few minutes.”