SEB LARSSON is confident that the end of the Sunderland “rollercoaster” will see the Black Cats enjoy some breathing space from the drop next May.
Aside from their 8-0 thrashing at Southampton, Sunderland have enjoyed a solid, if unspectacular, start to the campaign, with Gus Poyet’s side currently able to boast a three-point buffer from the relegation zone.
While Sunderland’s seven draws from 12 Premier League outings – the biggest tally in the top flight – has hindered the Black Cats from moving into the top half of the table, there has been progress from last season’s nerve-shredding brush with the drop.
Since arriving at the Stadium of Light three-and-a-half years ago, midfielder Larsson has seen Sunderland involved in an annual relegation fight, with the Swedish international working under four different permanent managers.
But Larsson believes the club is now on a more stable footing which will ultimately see Sunderland experience a more comfortable end to the season.
Larsson said: “This is probably the first point for a long time when you feel the club is settled. We’ve got a way of trying to play and things are settled all around the club.
“That’s a good thing.
“It’s been a rollercoaster at times since I’ve been here – different ways of playing, ups and down.
“But the gaffer is slowly getting across his way of playing.
“There’s a long way to go, but I think you can see bits that are getting there.
“If we can go into April not worrying about relegation, that would be fantastic.
“Since I joined the club, it hasn’t really been settled that often – for different reasons.
“That’s not blaming different people. We’re all part of it.
“But I think every club aims to get a bit of continuity and that’s what we’re in the process of building.
“I’ve got a feeling that we won’t be in the situation we were in last year. I think we’ll do better than that and be more comfortable.”
Larsson admits that the challenge now for Sunderland is to convert their hefty tally of draws into victories after another frustrating stalemate at third bottom Leicester City last weekend.
That won’t be easy for Poyet’s men in the short-term though, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool on the horizon in the space of seven days.
“We’re three points above the relegation zone, but then we’re six points off fourth,” he said.
“That tells you everything about this league. It’s absolutely nuts.
“I thought the Leicester game was one where we should have won, we were the better team and had the better chances.
“But the next step from having a solid performance away from home, is making sure you win those games more often than not.
“That’s the challenge we’ve got. If a few of the draws had turned into three-pointers, we’d have been way up the league.”