Fitness factor was tough for Sunderland new boy Alfred N’Diaye

Alfred N'Diaye
Alfred N'Diaye

ALFRED N’Diaye admits the demands of the Premier League have provided a shock to the system after a first competitive start in more than a month.

New signing N’Diaye made an impressive full Sunderland debut in Saturday’s 3-2 victory at Wigan after arriving from Turkish outfit Bursaspor a fortnight ago.

But the £3.8m midfielder was clearly flagging during the second half at the DW Stadium, as Sunderland clung on to their advantage, after his last appearance in Turkey’s Super Lig came on December 14.

N’Diaye says he will become attuned to the physical requirements of English football though after a second successive top-flight victory for the Black Cats helped to dampen any feelings of fatigue.

The France Under-21 international said: “I couldn’t have wished for a better start, even though it got tough later on in the game, as it was my first match since December 14.

“I was very tired after the game.

“I’ve seen already how the league here is very physical and very quick.

“The second half was hard. We had to run and run to ensure we didn’t lose the game.

“Wigan kept hold of the ball very well, and put us under pressure.

“But it was my first match in the team and we won the game, so I’m very happy.”

The 6ft 2in N’Diaye added some muscle to Sunderland’s midfield, but also made a pivotal contribution going forward by supplying the cross for the first of Steven Fletcher’s double, which handed Martin O’Neill’s men the lead.

“I was happy with the cross for the second goal. It was my first assist for the team,” said N’Diaye. “If I can do that more, then I will be very happy.

“Fletcher is a very good player. He holds the ball up, is good with his head, and has very good technique.

“And of course, he scores goals!”

N’Diaye will have to wait for his next taste of the Premier League, with Sunderland not in action until Swansea’s visit to the Stadium of Light next Tuesday.

Although N’Diaye is in little need of a sustained rest, the 22-year-old believes the hiatus will prove valuable for his team-mates, who have faced a draining festive schedule.

“We’ve got a bit of rest now, and we can do some work on the training ground before the Swansea game next week,” he added.

“The rest isn’t really important for me because I had stopped playing before I came to England.

“But for the other players who’ve played a lot of matches, it will be good for them.”