Seb Larsson will not let his first return to the Stadium of Light affect his determination to keep Hull City out of Championship relegation trouble.
The experienced Swede left Sunderland after six seasons in the summer, and he returns to Wearside for tomorrow’s vital battle at the bottom (3pm kick-off).
Hull go into the game in fifth-bottom spot on 25 points, one above the drop zone and three ahead of bottom club Sunderland.
Asked about taking on his former club, Larsson told the Hull Daily Mail: “I’m sure they’ll be some emotions on game day, it’s a club where I spent a large part of my career but that doesn’t matter when I step over the white line.
“In general, I have a good record in these games.
“When I was with Sunderland, I got out of tough situations quite a a few times.
“Of course I’d love to be higher up the league and not having too much to play for, but there’s no point on focussing on that, we are where we are. We’re fully aware we’re in a position that needs to be improved very quickly.
“But we have to look at the opportunities that lie ahead.
“You have to find the middle ground of understanding pressure but also not get too worked up about it – you have to have control.”
Hull have won just once in the league since Nigel Adkins replaced Leonid Slutsky as manager, though they had a goal wrongly chalked off in last week’s 0-0 draw with Reading.
The 32-year-old reckons that the Tigers’ performances are not being rewarded.
He added: “We should be winning a lot more than what we are, but that’s part of being a good team, turning half decent performances into wins.
“But I’m enjoying my football and the way we’ve tried to play lately.
“Our form is a concern, you have to be honest, when you’re performing better you have to win games, but, on the other hand, we have to draw confidence from our performances.
“We have enough quality to win games, but we have to start to do it. I didn’t know the head coach had said we had to win 10 games, but so be it. I don’t look at the table too much at the minute.
“It’s not a must-win yet, but it’s a very important game. It’s not season over if you lose.
“For us, any game going forward is a big game and an opportunity to pick up points and the way we look at it is an opportunity to get the points we need.
“I hope I will be cool and calm about it it. That’s the best way to approach it.
“I didn’t expect either club to be in this situation, but that’s the nature of the league.
“Confidence in football is massive. We all know that – we’ve given far too many points away from winning positions.”