Wahbi Kahzri: Why Sunderland’s January signings have impressed so quickly

Wahbi Khazri
Wahbi Khazri
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Wahbi Khazri believes the power and pace of English football has been a perfect match for Sunderland’s January signings.

The quartet captured by manager Sam Allardyce in the transfer window have given Sunderland a vital injection of momentum in the battle to remain in the Premier League after all have immediately made an impact in a red and white shirt.

Although Jan Kirchhoff limped off early on in Saturday’s 2-1 success over Manchester United, winger Khazri netted the opener from a free-kick and set up Lamine Kone for the winner, while remaining new recruit Dame N’Doye also played his part with his best performance for Sunderland so far.

N’Doye is the only one of the four with any previous experience of English football, but £9million signing Khazri says the overseas imports have been able to adapt so quickly because the Premier League plays to their strengths.

Khazri told the Echo: “It’s intensive the football in this country, whereas in France it’s more tactical and defensive.

“Here it’s more open and the teams are more attack-minded.

“I think it suits me.

“And I think it’s the same for the other new boys, because we’ve all settled in really well. Hopefully that continues.

“It’s good to score for the first time and good for my confidence.

“For me to score and for us to beat Man United, makes it even better.

“Obviously, when I was at Bordeaux, I had a lot of success with my set pieces.

“I’m happy that the goal came from one of my free-kicks and hopefully that will continue.

“Set pieces are such an important part of modern football.”

After three games in less than a fortnight, Sunderland’s new boys now have a chance to catch their breath, with the Black Cats heading to Dubai for warm-weather training during the two-week break from Premier League action.

Sunderland’s players can fondly reflect on a four-point haul from three daunting fixtures against both Manchester clubs, plus Liverpool, after a thoroughly deserved 2-1 success against United.

And while the position of Sam Allardyce’s second-bottom side remains perilous, they have narrowed the gap to safety to a solitary point.

“It will be good to recuperate properly and work on a few things, because the matches come around so quickly,” said Khazri.

“We need to win as many games as possible if we are to get out of the relegation zone.

“I’m okay after the three matches. It’s football. You should be tired!

“We’ve just got to take it match-by-match and do what we need to stay in the Premier League.

“We played a good match against Manchester City, but lost. Got a good point at Liverpool and then we’ve won against Man United.

“It’s good for the confidence of the team because we know what a good team Man United are.

“They are one of the best teams in England, but hopefully if we keep working hard, then we can win more matches.”