FABIO BORINI says his first taste of a relegation battle is proving to be a learning curve.
The on-loan Liverpool frontman had always fought for the spoils at the top end of the league prior to joining Sunderland on a season-long loan last summer.
At Chelsea, Liverpool and Italian side Roma, Borini was competing for titles and European spots, while he helped Swansea to promotion from the Championship during a loan spell in South Wales.
But the 22-year-old has experienced the contrasting pressure of battling against the drop during his time at the Stadium of Light and hopes that will prepare him to overcome adversity as his career goes on.
Borini told SportMail: “I’ve never fought for relegation. I’ve always fought for a European place or winning a title.
“It’s not easy. It’s a totally different tension and focus.
“But it’s a good experience because you learn about hard times.
“You will experience them in your career when you pick up an injury or your team is not doing well.
“I don’t think it’s any tougher than fighting for the title, because even if you finish second in the title race, you’ve still lost.
“But it gives you the experience of how to deal with not very positive things.”
Sunderland moved up a place to third bottom after Saturday’s frustrating stalemate with Crystal Palace, albeit the gap with the safety mark extended to three points.
Borini believes the Palace clash, coupled with this weekend’s trip to fellow strugglers Norwich City, will inevitably have a big impact on Sunderland’s survival chances.
But the Italian warns that the Premier League is notoriously difficult to predict, whatever the outcome at Carrow Road.
“These two games will take us one way or the other,” added Borini.
“We’ve got three games in hand, so we can control what happens to us a little bit more than others.
“But I’ve learned in the Premier League, you never know until the last second.
“You look at Man City two years ago when they won the title in the last 10 seconds.”
– CHRIS YOUNG