STEPHANE SESSEGNON has welcomed the timely return of Adam Johnson as Sunderland look to continue Manchester City’s defensive worries tomorrow.
Sunderland’s creative trio of Sessegnon, Johnson and James McClean are yet to sparkle this season despite the Black Cats’ unbeaten start to the campaign.
Sessegnon has been working his way back to match-fitness after missing pre-season, while Johnson made only his second league appearance in red and white last weekend following a thigh injury.
But they face a City side tomorrow, whose defensive resilience from last season has not been replicated this time around, with Roberto Mancini’s men failing to keep a clean sheet in their opening six top-flight outings.
Sessegnon is not taking the Premier League champions’ lightly, but believes the return of ex-City winger Johnson will be a major boost for the Black Cats this weekend.
“It’s good that Adam was able to play a part against Wigan after returning from his injury,” Sessegnon told the Echo.
“He’s going to be a really important player for us this season because of his skill and technique.
“It was pleasing to see him back in the team.
“A game against Manchester City is never going to be easy.
“They are a team who will always have a lot of the ball and they’ve got top-class players.
“You know you are going to have work hard to get chances.
“They are a team who defend very well, as well as scoring goals, even though they’ve conceded a few this season.”
Sunderland took more points against City last season than any of their Premier League peers after Ji Dong-won’s last-gasp goal secured a 1-0 Stadium of Light victory before Martin O’Neill’s men were pegged back to a 3-3 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
And Benin forward Sessegnon knows Sunderland must produce another Herculean effort tomorrow as they look to maintain their five-game unbeaten run.
Sessegnon added: “The victory here against Manchester City was an exceptional performance.
“We had to work so hard for that win and it was a great moment when we scored right at the end.
“But this season is not the same.
“Both teams have got new players and we know Manchester City are such a good team.
“We need that same concentration we showed in the game here to be able to come away with something.”