Seb Larsson admits Sunderland are running out of time to record an elusive first win, if they are to jump-start their season before it’s too late.
For all Sunderland were more defensively resilient in Sam Allardyce’s opening game in charge at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and were left rueing referee Martin Atkinson’s big decisions, the Black Cats still suffered a sixth defeat out of nine to fall back to the basement of the Premier League.
We’re not hiding from the fact that we need wins. It’s nine without a win nowSeb Larsson
The gap with the drop zone remains at five points, yet Sunderland have a lower haul from their opening nine games than they had at the same stage of 2013-14, prior to Gus Poyet overseeing the Great Escape.
Ahead of this coming weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby, midfielder Larsson – back in the starting XI for the first time since August – knows the wait for a win cannot continue indefinitely, if Sunderland’s situation is to be retrievable.
Larsson told the Echo: “Once again, we’ve come away with nothing, and that’s hard.
“We’re not hiding from the fact that we need wins.
“It’s nine without a win now.
“You can’t keep saying ‘it’s going to come, it’s going to come’.
“It needs to come very soon, starting next weekend.”
Allardyce had enjoyed just two days with his full squad on the training ground prior to his first game in charge, with Larsson one of a number of internationals who did not return to the Academy of Light until late last week.
But Allardyce’s immediate focus was on improving the worst defence in the Premier League and there were signs of improvement on that score at The Hawthorns, as Sunderland got to half-time without conceding for only the second time this season.
Larsson expects Allardyce’s focus to remain on the back-line this week and agrees that Sunderland need to tighten up if they are to have any chance of beating the drop.
“The manager has been very clear on it,” said former Birmingham star Larsson.
“We hadn’t had many days together, but we wanted to be solid and I thought we were before and after their goal.
“No, we didn’t create loads either, but in the first half, particularly, I thought we looked a bit more dangerous.
“Away from home, it’s a nice feeling to be as comfortable as we were.
“We’re obviously going to try to take the positives with us.
“You can’t keep giving goals away like we did in those first eight games.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re scoring, because you’re going to end up losing more times than not.
“We’re focused on that and we’ll try to put that right, which we did for most of the game.”