Papy Djilobodji has found adapting to the Premier League tougher than expected – but he is determined to be a success at Sunderland.
Sunderland splashed out £8million on the 27-year-old Senegalese centre-back from Chelsea in the summer.
This is Djilobodji’s first experience of English football after spending last season on loan in Germany and didn’t convince initially as he found his feet in the top flight in a struggling side.
But he produced a commanding performance in the crucial 2-1 win over Bournemouth - a victory that has given morale a massive boost ahead of Saturday’s crunch game against fellow strugglers Hull City.
“It’s a lot more testing than I had expected or known, especially from having played in France or Germany,” said Djilobodji, who says the Cherries win has to be the springboard for the season.
“It’s the first time I’ve spent any time playing in England, and I do feel that the game is different here.
“As a defender, you need a lot more fighting qualities and a lot more concentration.
“But you also need discipline in the way you defend.
“I’ll try to work on all these things to be able to succeed in the Premier League.
“It’s a bit of everything that you have to get used to.
“When you haven’t played in a league before, or even known a league very well, it’s always more difficult to adapt.
“But with a lot of effort and work, I’ll continue to get used to things and improve.
“I know it’s not easy to work in the Premier League, but I’m happy here and it’s good for me.
“It will help me as a player to be working in the Premier League, and I’ll do everything in order to adapt and be able to win games.”
The former Chelsea man, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Werder Bremen, played a key role in the Bournemouth win.
Victory ended a 10-game winless streak, the club’s worst ever start to a league campaign, but Sunderland remain six points from safety ahead of the weekend clash against Hull City.
Djilobodji added: “We did come back strongly against Bournemouth and win, and it was a pleasure to win against them.
“From our side, when you don’t win you obviously lose confidence.
“But we have won our first game, and we are now looking forward to winning more.
“Hopefully Bournemouth will be the start of our season and we will do everything we can to make that so.
“I think it’s definitely changed [the mood] in the sense that you do feel a little bit more confident.
“Every day in training, people try to give their best and I really hope we will be able to win against Hull.”