CARLOS Cuellar believes his central defensive partnership with John O’Shea could blossom into a very successful one for Sunderland.
And the Spaniard says that, in a youthful-looking Black Cats side, their depth of experience can also be a help to the cause.
Cuellar and O’Shea, both 31, are almost the elder statesmen of a team which has youth stamped all the way through it, with skipper Lee Cattermole, still only 24, leading it.
And the former Aston Villa defender that his partnership with O’Shea is already showing signs of gelling, ahead of Saturday’s televised Premier League home clash with Liverpool (5.30pm kick-off).
Cuellar (pictured above) told the Echo: “I believe we have a good blend of players in the squad – we have experienced players, we have young players, we have players who like to attack and players who like to defend.
“So I think it is a mixture that can work.
“As for the partnership, I played with John (pictured below) a few times in pre-season and we have started pretty well in the league.
“We feel confident, we have good communication with each other and I think we feel comfortable to play together.
“I think a lot of that is because we are experienced players and so we know what it needs for things to work.
“It takes time to build partnerships and we are still learning about each other and how we play.
“But I think we know what we are doing and we know what we have to pick up on and improve on.”
Although the Spaniard is quick to concede that Sunderland’s season has really yet to get going, he says that confidence in the camp is good with the team feeling they can do well this season.
He said: “We have two points on the board but we know they are two very good points considering the fact we have been away from home and the quality of the teams we have played.
“They are always good tests.
“When you are playing in that type of game – away from home against a good, attacking football sides, you know you are going to be under pressure.
“You know you are going to be under attack and you have no room for mistakes.
“But they are very satisfying games if you can leave with something.
“Our draws against Arsenal and Swansea have given us that bit of confidence going into games.
“Our confidence is high and we feel strong, looking forward to the Liverpool game this weekend.”