STEPHANE SESSEGNON says Paolo Di Canio’s crash course in Premier League survival has focused on teamwork, rather than singling out Sunderland’s reigning Player of the Season for special attention.
Sessegnon’s first-half strike proved sufficient for Sunderland to extend the margin with the relegation zone to six points on Saturday, as the Black Cats marked Di Canio’s home bow with a first victory over Everton in 12 years.
Di Canio singled out Sessegnon for praise afterwards, with the Benin international netting his second in as many games to take his tally for the campaign to seven.
But Sessegnon revealed that he has not held any grand head-to-head talks with Sunderland’s head coach, with Di Canio’s methods centering on making his new charges gel as a unit.
Sessegnon told the Echo: “He hasn’t said anything particularly special to me. Above all, his message has been about working as a team. That’s what we’ve done in training and tried to do in the games. And you can see the results.
“The defence was very solid against Everton and that has been the main thing the new manager has done differently. It’s all about working together and functioning together.”
The 28-year-old added: “It was an important time for me to score, right at the end of the first half, just before the break.
“It gave us a big boost going into half-time and deflated them a little bit. It was a good moment for me. Hopefully I can score more goals, but let’s see what happens.”
Sessegnon acknowledged it was crucial for Sunderland to build on the momentum from their derby victory over Newcastle United against the Toffees. But, despite handing another major boost to their survival hopes by rising to 14th in the table, Sessegnon insists there is more work to be done.
“It was an afternoon that has given everyone a lot of pleasure,” said the former Paris Saint-Germain forward.
“We could see the fans were right behind us and we responded to that. There wasn’t one person in the team who didn’t give everything.
“After a big moment of the season like the Newcastle derby, we needed to put in another good performance on Saturday. And we’ve managed to get three points for two weeks in a row, so we’re all very satisfied.
“It was important to keep it going because our place in the table was still not the healthiest.
“We’re in a position where every point we can take is good.
“The win at Newcastle was important both for the three points and the confidence it gave us.
“If we keep playing this way in the final matches of the season, then we will finish the season well.”