Sunderland defender opens up on ‘difficult’ Stadium of Light run and the relief of ending hoodoo

Tyias Browning.
Tyias Browning.
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Tyias Browning has spoken of the “relief” the Sunderland players felt at ending the home hoodoo after a difficult twelve months on home soil.

Sunderland had gone a whopping 364 days without a win on home soil - 21 games - before beating Fulham 1-0 last weekend to spark wild celebrations.

And the defender is now looking forward to experiencing more of the electric Stadium of Light atmosphere.

Fourth bottom Sunderland host bottom-of-the-table Birmingham City this afternoon, with the Black Cats aiming for another positive result in front of their home support at the start of the busy festive run.

Browning, on a season-long loan from Everton, admitted it has been “difficult” but now wants to experience more of the famous red and white atmosphere the stadium can offer.

“It was difficult, especially the home games,” said the 23-year-old centre back when asked to reflect on the poor start.

“It was a relief to get a win because I know a lot of the fans were on our backs and rightly so.

“It was tough but now that we’ve found our feet – hopefully I haven’t jinxed us – we can keep going.

“You’d like to think our season was just starting now and forget about everything that happened before.

“When we won at Burton it felt like a long time since our last win - Norwich in August was the previous one in the league.

“That feels like a long, long time ago so it’s nice to find our feet.

“The stadium was a lot louder, especially towards the end.

“It was quite a nervy last 10, 15 minutes after we scored, everybody was on edge and we had to calm down a bit and not act like we’d never been in the lead before.”

Browning has played every minute of the five games Chris Coleman has taken charge of since replacing Simon Grayson.

Coleman oversaw the home defeat to Reading before banishing the hoodoo for good against his former side Fulham.

Browning added: “The manager told us not to think about what the crowd are thinking and just focus on the game. Sometimes that can affect your performance so you’ve got to blank it out sometimes.

“We’ve had little glimpses of when we’ve scored a goal or towards the end of the Fulham game of what it can be like at the Stadium of Light when things are going well, it can be a great experience.

“I was told about it before I came. I had been told nothing but good things about this club and the atmosphere at the home games.

“A lot of people have said we hadn’t yet experienced the proper Stadium of Light atmosphere and I think the Fulham game was the first time we did.”

l Sunderland U18s’ FA Youth Cup third round tie at Watford has been rescheduled for Sunday, January 7. Sunderland make the journey to Vicarage Road next month for a 2pm kick-off.

Mark Atkinson’s side were set to face the Hornets earlier this month but due to heavy snowfall the match was postponed.