Sunderland strike fear into Premier League relegation rivals - Seb Larsson

Seb Larsson
Seb Larsson
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Seb Larsson reckons that just the mention of Sunderland can strike fear into the eyes of their Premier League relegation rivals.

The Swedish international believes the Black Cats' recent exploits in their battles to beat the drop, including last year's great escape under Sam Allardyce, should act as a warning to the other five teams in the fight at the top flight basement.

David Moyes' men shocked many by producing the goods on their travels - hammering Crystal Palace on their own patch 4-0.

That win, coupled with results elsewhere, pulled things at the bottom closer together, with six teams within two points from 15th down.

And while that win was not enough to lift Sunderland off the foot of the table, Larsson thinks the result, with their recent experience of tasting victory in the relegation scrap should act as a warning to those around them.

"I think there are six or seven teams involved in the relegation battle now," said Larsson, who side are in a basement battle with last season's champions Leicester City, Middlesbrough, Swansea City, Hull City and Palace.

"I suspect, when those teams look at the table and see Sunderland's name, they will be worried.

"They know what we have done before, they know we have got out of worse positions and they know what we are capable of doing when it comes to crunch time. We believe we will survive and I think that should scare the teams around us a little bit."

Year after year the pundits, fellow fans and so-called experts claim that this will be Sunderland's season. Few, at this stage of recent campaigns, have given the club a hope of beating the drop.

But Larsson says the players can take pride and confidence from their tag as "relegation escape artists", although he'd prefer it was a much easier ride.

"Of course, you don't want to be known as relegation escape artists. It would be great if we could just chill out in mid-table one year, without the type of pressure we are under now, but it's part of the game.

"We have constantly been pulled into these scraps, but we have always won them. I understand why people criticise us, I know why people think we deserve to go down, but what I'll say to that is, we have always survived, others haven't. We have something other clubs haven't got. We turn negative situations into a positive.

"I can honestly say there has not been one season when I've thought, 'This is it.' I've never admitted defeat. For sure, I've looked at the table a few times and thought, 'This is going to be tricky,' but I can honestly say, I've never said: 'That's it, we're relegated.'

"Pride kicks in, when everybody else says you are going to be relegated, that's the motivation, the need to prove people wrong. It's very powerful. At least, it is at Sunderland."