STEPHANE Sessegnon is confident Alfred N’Diaye will prove a long-term success for Sunderland despite two contrasting starts for the Black Cats.
January arrival N’Diaye was superb on his full debut in red and white at Wigan a fortnight ago, yet struggled against Swansea on Tuesday night before being withdrawn midway through the second half.
But Sessegnon, who himself took six months to adapt to the Premier League following his arrival from Paris St-Germain, says the France Under-21 international has already shown enough to suggest that he can be a force for the Black Cats.
The Benin forward said: “He still needs to get used to the league here obviously, but it’s a good signing for us.
“Tuesday was a difficult match for him to play in and in the second half, he began to tire.
“But I think he’ll do well here and improve because he’s got the physique that we’ve needed.
“Once he finds his form and confidence, he’ll be good for us.”
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill concurs with Sessegnon that N’Diaye’s performance against Swansea was attributable to inexperience.
“Alfred had a difficult night,” said O’Neill.
“He was a little bit uncertain in the game whether to mark Michu or whether to try to get further upfield, and he was often caught in two minds.
“Really, the defence should have handled Michu and allowed Alfred to get further forward.
“But it’s just youth, it’s inexperience. He’s only 22 and he’ll learn, he’ll get better, there’s no doubt about that.”
N’Diaye could still keep his place in the side for tomorrow’s clash with fourth bottom Reading, as Sunderland look to contain a rejuvenated Royals outfit who have scored seven times in their last three league games.
Sessegnon says Sunderland face far more formidable opposition than in December’s comfortable 3-0 win at the Stadium of Light, although the 28-year-old believes the Black Cats must be confident of extending their three-game unbeaten run.
“It’s true that Reading have improved a lot over the last few weeks,” he added.
“They’ve managed to put more points on the board and we can’t think that because we won the match against them in December, that it will be the same this time.
“It will be much more difficult.
“But we still have to be confident that we can get three points there.
“No result is ever guaranteed in the Premier League, but if we have the will to win, we can get more points.”