Nobody expected goal crisis, says Sunderland’s Seb Larsson

GOAL CONCERN ... Seb Larsson.
GOAL CONCERN ... Seb Larsson.

SEB Larsson admits Sunderland never envisaged facing a goal crisis after boosting their attacking ranks with a £22m investment during the summer.

But the Swedish international realises the Black Cats must now cope with the increased scrutiny which has inevitably evolved from their troubles in the final third.

Martin O’Neill looked to have formed a mouth-watering attack when last season’s stand-out players Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean were joined by the double capture of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson.

But the apparent threat on paper has not materialised into a tangible one in the Premier League, with Sunderland managing only six goals from their opening nine games.

Larsson, restored to a wide role at the expense of McClean against Aston Villa last weekend, concedes Sunderland’s campaign has fallen below expectations so far, and knows they need to find an imminent solution.

“No, we didn’t expect to only have six goals by this stage,” said Larsson.

“We shouldn’t be in this situation, but that’s where we are, and we’ve got to accept it and keep going.

“Over the season, it will come, I’m 100 per cent sure of it. But let’s show it on the pitch, rather than say it.

“It goes for everyone when we haven’t done well enough going forward.

“With some of the signings we made, expectations rose, and it’s right that they did.

“By no means do we feel that we’ve lived up to any expectations at all, let alone our own. But there’s still lots of the season left.

“Of course you want to turn it around sooner rather than later. Every game you don’t play well or pick up any points, the pressure builds.

“We’ve just got to stay strong and show that we can produce some good games under pressure.”

Standing in Sunderland’s way of ending their run of four blanks in five games tomorrow, is an Everton side lying fourth in the table.

Regardless of Everton’s recent record against Sunderland, the Toffees have made an uncharacteristically impressive start to the season, albeit they have drawn their last four Premier League outings.

But Larsson hopes the lack of expectations around Sunderland’s game this weekend can work in their favour after suffering back-to-back Stadium of Light defeats.

The 27-year-old said: “From what I’ve seen of Everton so far, they look a solid team and a strong team. It’s going to be a very tough game.

“What we’ve got to try to do is put the two home games to one side, and look at what we’ve done earlier in the season away from home.

“We’ve been strong and hard to beat. We can’t start panicking now or anything like that.

“We had a good chance to win the two games at home against Middlesbrough and Villa, but we came away with nothing.

“Maybe this time around, with people not expecting much, it’s the perfect time to turn things around.

“Picking up a point away from home is always a good one.

“We have done that, it’s at home where we haven’t turned the draws into wins, and obviously we’ve now lost a game.

“There’s no secret to it, we haven’t done well enough, and we’ve just got to keep working hard.”

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