Sunderland goal hero: Bring on the big boys!

Steven Fletcher celebrates with Craig Gardner
Steven Fletcher celebrates with Craig Gardner
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STEVEN FLETCHER says Sunderland’s victory at Southampton can provided a springboard for the three remaining Premier League encounters in their festive programme.

The Black Cats began a run of five games in 14 days with a crucial win at St Mary’s on Saturday to ease the pressure in the basement scrap after creating a four-point buffer with the bottom three.

Match-winner Fletcher believes Sunderland can now head into daunting encounters against Manchester City, Spurs and Liverpool with a spring in their step.

The Scotland striker said: “We’ll approach the next three games with a bit of confidence.

“We know we’ve got some hard games coming up, but now we can approach them some with confidence.

“We needed that result. We knew it was a must-win game for us.

“We’re just happy we put in a performance and got the three points from it.

“We know we’ve got a hard Christmas period coming up. but we’ve built a bit of confidence and we’ll take that into the next game.

“The boys are all very tight. We all get on very well. It is a good bunch of lads.

“If we keep our heads down and keep working hard, we’ll get results like this.”

Fletcher pounced on the stroke of half-time to sweep home Stephane Sessegnon’s inadvertent pass for his eighth goal in Sunderland colours.

The £12million summer signing’s contribution has proved pivotal, with the Black Cats registering points on each occasion he has found the net.

But Sunderland’s top scorer remains a humble figure, diverting the praise towards the defensive resilience of Martin O’Neill’s side, rather than encouraging any individual plaudits.

“I’m just glad I got a goal and we got another win,” added the 25-year-old.

“I think Sess will take an assist for that one.

“It just came to me quick and I instinctively hit it and, luckily for me, it went in the back of the net.

“Everyone put in a performance on Saturday.

“We attacked well and we defended well so you’re going to win games if you play like that.

“Sometimes it’s not pretty. Sometimes you have to grind it out, but we got the three points that we needed.”