Sunderland’s Johnson relishes United challenge

Adam Johnson.
Adam Johnson.
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ADAM JOHNSON reckons this weekend’s game against league leaders Manchester United will offer the Black Cats’ creative players a chance to show what they can do.

And he says that Sunderland have to be inspired rather than intimidated by the prospect of taking on Sir Alex Ferguson’s Premier League champions elect on Saturday (12.45pm kick-off).

Johnson told the Echo: “The Man United game is a nice one for us to look forward to – and I do look forward to it.

“Man United are coming to the Stadium of Light and there will be a great atmosphere and we’d love to cause an upset.

“Playing against the top teams is what players want to do and I think it can spur players on to better performances – you look at us against Arsenal at home recently and I thought we were brilliant.

“The United game is one to look forward to – there’s nothing better than playing the team that’s going to win the league. If we put in a good performance against them, things change.”

Johnson says that while United are formidable in attack, they allow opponents to get at them defensively as a result of their commitment to going forward.

“Strangely, it becomes easier for wingers against the top teams because you get more space, because they want to attack,” he said.

“They have players on their sides who want to attack like I do, so I tend to get most of my joy against the bigger teams – like when we played Arsenal.”

The £10million summer signing says Sunderland have to play this weekend against United in the same way they did against his former club Manchester City back in December.

“Man United are coming and if we can play as well as we did against City then it could be a great day – it’s that old cliché of anyone can beat anyone else on their day,” added Johnson.

“When you look at the results in recent weeks, the teams at the bottom have been pulling off unexpected results, so maybe we can be one of those teams ourselves in this difficult sequence of games.”