NICKLAS Bendtner admits it’s a “nice feeling” to be a wanted man again, with Asamoah Gyan’s defection putting the pressure on the Dane to solve Sunderland’s scoring worries.
Bendtner’s Sunderland debut was overshadowed by Gyan’s departure to United Arab Emirates outfit Al-Ain after the unsettled Ghanaian opted to cash in on a lucrative loan move to the Middle East which will realistically end his career on Wearside.
Gyan’s exit again reduces Sunderland to just four strikers, two of whom are rookies, although Korean Ji Dong-won did break his Premier League duck with a late consolation in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
After a return of just two goals from the opening five winless games, Steve Bruce needs on-loan Arsenal striker Bendtner to hit the ground running and inject an attacking threat into Sunderland’s ranks.
But Bendtner believes he will revel with the burden of being Sunderland’s main man after he was confined to the fringes at Arsenal.
The Danish international said: “I can cope fine with the pressure, I just hope I can deliver.
“I want to do my best each time I go out on the pitch and score the goals which is the main thing for any striker.
“We still have good players here despite Asamoah going.
“There’s always people breathing down your neck. But it’s a nice feeling when people are counting on you.
“It’s a massive season for me.
“I’ve not been reaching the ambitions I had with Arsenal because I was stuck on the bench.
“A lot of things happened that I wasn’t happy with. I’m not going to talk too much about it because it’s behind me now.
“I want to look to the future and going here on loan for a year is a good move for me.”
Bendtner should have marked his debut with an early goal, but sent his free header wide of the post from 12 yards out.
Six minutes later, Chelsea took the lead and controlled proceedings from then on, with Daniel Sturridge effectively inflicting a second home defeat out of two on Sunderland after an audacious back-heel five minutes into the second half to double the advantage.
But Bendtner was encouraged by Sunderland’s persistence, with substitute Ji’s stoppage time strike just coming too late to mount a sustained late cavalry charge.
He added: “I would have liked to have hit the target with my header. But I hope there’s more to come from me.
“We’ve still got a lot to improve on, but, in the second half, we gave 100 per cent, no-one could question that.
“We didn’t seemed to get to play the way we wanted.
“We came out in the second half really fired up and to go 2-0 down was really disappointing for us.
“But we kept going and we created more chances and seemed to put them under pressure.
“Deservedly, we got the goal, but, unfortunately, it was a bit too late.
“It’s always difficult to play against a team like Chelsea though. Chelsea are a good team and they’ve got good players.”