SEB LARSSON says Sunderland need to make a mental adjustment if they are to profit from their attacking riches.
Sunderland opened their account for the Premier League campaign in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Swansea City after £12million summer signing Steven Fletcher plundered a first half brace on his Black Cats league bow.
But Sunderland failed to test Swansea keeper Michael Vorm in the second half, even when the hosts were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of defender Chico Flores.
Attacking trio James McClean, Stephane Sessegnon and Adam Johnson all struggled to make an impression and Larsson has urged Sunderland not to waste that potential going forward.
Martin O’Neill splashed out more than £22m to improve a goal return which saw Sunderland net just three times in the final seven games of last season and Larsson believes the Black Cats need to adjust to that change in their circumstances.
Larsson told the Echo: “We still played a little bit like last year when we maybe didn’t score enough goals.
“Now we’ve got the players to do that and create stuff and it’s a mental thing to get into that. We need to get it into our heads and start playing a bit more.
“I’m sure we will. There’s more goals to come from all over the pitch. We’ve got players to cause problems. For example, we’ll need to learn how Jonno likes it and how he can isolate people one-on-one.
“Goals was the area where we needed to improve this year and I’m sure we will.”
Fletcher pounced on Ashley Williams’ under-hit back pass to clinically hand Sunderland the lead before tucking home Larsson’s free-kick after Wayne Routledge had levelled for the Swans.
“The way he tucked away the first one was brilliant,” said Larsson. “You can tell it’s a natural goalscorer who does that.
“The second one he obviously couldn’t miss, but goalscorers are in the right place at the right time.
“It’s great for us. His confidence will be boosted by that and hopefully he’ll get a lot more.
“He couldn’t have asked for a better start, especially away from home.”
Fletcher’s second was cancelled out by Spanish midfielder Michu’s fourth in three Premier League outings in the second half after Swansea had piled the pressure on O’Neill’s men.
But Larsson wasn’t too dispirited after Sunderland followed up their opening day draw at Arsenal with a second successive point on the road.
The Swedish international midfielder added: “When you go ahead twice in a Premier League game, away from home, you’re going to be a bit disappointed at not winning.
“But in all fairness, especially in the second half, we didn’t deserve to win the game.
“Not that Swansea created that much, but you’ve got to accept they have a lot of the ball and they’re very good with that. The problem was when we got the ball, we were too deep and we gave it away way too much.
“But then we’ve had Arsenal away and Swansea away which are two very tough places to go and we haven’t lost.”