Much more desire needed in Sunderland’s survival battle – Larsson

Sunderland's Marcos Alonso is shown a red card by referee Phil Dowd as Seb Larsson looks on.
Sunderland's Marcos Alonso is shown a red card by referee Phil Dowd as Seb Larsson looks on.
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SUNDERLAND held a no-holds-barred dressing room inquest after defeat at Norwich City in a bid to reignite their faltering survival challenge.

The Black Cats produced arguably their worst display under Gus Poyet at Carrow Road on Saturday after they couldn’t recover from a woeful opening 45 minutes in the crunch relegation showdown against the Canaries.

Voices were raised in a heated away dressing room afterwards, as both Poyet and his players spoke their minds after the third bottom Black Cats succumbed to their third defeat in four Premier League outings.

And midfielder Seb Larsson, part of a double substitution five minutes before half-time, says that was necessary after making the honest admission that Norwich were more hungry for the three points than Sunderland.

“We had a very good honest chat afterwards and I think the bottom line was that we didn’t show we wanted it enough,” said Larsson.

“Whatever is said in the dressing room stays there. But we had a good honest chat and that’s what you need from time to time.

“It sounds bad, but I think Norwich wanted it more than us. It came down to desire.

“At this stage of the season, if you don’t have the desire to do what is needed to pick up points, you’re going to struggle. Let’s find that desire very, very quickly.

“I don’t know why that was. I’d like to have the answer.

“I don’t know if the big question is why. I think it’s more realising that that’s the case and making sure that it never happens again because it can’t.

“You can’t hide.

“I think the fans that traveled down had every right to be very disappointed with what they saw.”

Larsson admits the only positive to emerge from the trip to Norfolk was that Sunderland’s league position didn’t worsen significantly after the other five members of the bottom six all suffered defeats too.

But Sunderland will need to produce a remarkable turnaround in form to close the three-point gap with fourth bottom West Brom on Wednesday night, when they travel to title-contenders Liverpool for the first of their games in hand.

Larsson added: “The only positive thing is that we were very lucky with the other results. That gives us a chance again.

“But we can’t keep blowing our chances because everyone knows where that is going to end up.

“Let’s get one thing right. In the next game, we have to have the right desire and in every minute for every remaining game this season.

“Liverpool are obviously doing very well at the moment. They’re a good team.

“But I think we’ve just to focus on making sure that we’re very honest with each other and say the things that need to be said.”