DAVID Vaughan says Sunderland’s added Premier League experience will ensure they do not panic about a slow start to the season.
Of the nine senior players the Black Cats signed in this summer’s transfer window, only Ji Dong-Won had no previous experience of English football. The majority had played in its top flight, none more so than Wes Brown and John O’Shea.
They passed the 500 mark for combined Premier League appearances at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Vaughan (left) believes that nous will ensure Sunderland keep a start which has left them out of the relegation zone only on goal difference after eight games in perspective.
With Saturday’s game away to Bolton Wanderers – the team immediately below them – the situation could be worse still by the end of the week.
“The experience a lot of the players have got is good and you can fall back on it when times are tough so you’re not panicking,” the Wales midfielder reflected. “You’d like to think that will come into play over the course of the season.
“With experience you can see the situations panning out a bit better than if you’ve not been through it before. We’ve only played seven or eight games,
there’s still a long way to go so hopefully we can get where we want to be.”
Sunday’s 2-1 defeat by Arsenal continued their slide down the division. Sunderland have won just once this season, and were knocked out of the League Cup by Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion. Many supporters are losing patience with manager Steve Bruce, making for a tense atmosphere at the Stadium of Light.
But Vaughan, who joined from relegated Blackpool this summer, insists the players have not caught the downbeat mood.
“The dressing room’s been quite good,” he said. “We’re confident we can get results.
“It’s still really early in the season and if we can put two or three good results together we climb up the table. It’s not in a bad situation, so the dressing room’s quite good at the moment.
“It was disappointing after the (Arsenal) game that we lost but you’ve got to take the positives out of it.
“At least we showed a bit more spirit and played a bit better than we have in a few of the games recently, so we’ve got to try to build on that.”
The key, says Vaughan, is for the team to become more consistent – not just from game to game, but within the matches. The Black Cats have given their opponents head starts in each of the last two games.
West Bromwich Albion were 2-0 up five minutes into Sunderland’s last home game, while Arsenal scored after 29 seconds and could easily have been 3-0 ahead in the first 20 minutes, Robin van Persie striking the inside of the post and going close with another opportunity.
“Sunderland had a really good start last season up until Christmas time, then fell away a bit, like Blackpool did,” Vaughan noted. “If we can be more consistent over the course of the season, hopefully we can emulate what we did last year.
“We’re playing in patches in games and not being able to do it over the 90 minutes, which is disappointing. If we can produce a more consistent performance over the 90 minutes hopefully we can get the results we need.”
Chester-based Mike Jones will referee Saturday’s game.
Meanwhile, Craig Gardner and Nicklas Bendtner have been awarded their first Sunderland goals by the Premier League’s Dubious Goals Committee. Gardner’s deflected strike against Stoke City, and on-loan Bendtner’s against West Brom were referred to the panel. To date they are the only goals the pair have scored for the Wearsiders.
John Terry has been awarded with Chelsea’s opener in September’s win at the Stadium of Light, which went in off Phil Bardsley.