STEPHANE Sessegnon believes Sunderland have the ability to reach the sanctity of mid-table if they can maintain their current performance levels.
Sunderland head into Monday’s crunch clash at fourth-bottom Aston Villa in buoyant mood, as they look to register three successive Premier League victories for the first time since February last year.
In-form Sessegnon, who netted in Sunderland’s wins against Newcastle and Everton, realises the televised trip to Villa Park is another pivotal encounter in the relegation battle, with the hosts just three points adrift of the Black Cats.
But the Benin international believes that with back-to-back Stadium of Light games against Stoke and Southampton to follow the trip to the West Midlands, Sunderland are capable of securing more than the one win needed to reach the hallowed 40-point mark.
Sessegnon told the Echo: “When the next match arrives at Aston Villa, we’ve got to start again and not think that the job is done.
“We need more wins because we’re not safe yet.
“But if we can get more victories, then there’s nothing to stop us getting up towards mid-table.
“The most important thing is still staying in the division, even though Saturday (against Everton) was another big win for us.
“But we have the quality to win all of our remaining games.
“Let’s just hope we can continue and give our best to see where we’re able to finish.
“Hopefully we can have a strong end to the season now.”
Sessegnon says Sunderland now have the mental strength to handle the pressure of the relegation scrap – the improvement stemming from both results and the arrival of former Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio as the club’s new head coach.
And the 28-year-old believes the last two games have also eased the tension on the terraces after Sunderland supporters had endured a nine-game winless streak.
“It’s been hard for them when we haven’t been able to get a win,” added Sessegnon.
“It’s good to give them a lot of satisfaction and we will continue working hard.
“It’s the difference that a win can make.
“We’re mentally a lot stronger.
“Wins give you a lot of confidence and we’ve been able to take on board what the new manager has tried to do.”