Jermain Defoe: Sunderland can’t dwell on worst ever start

Sunderland goalscorer Jermain Defoe.
Sunderland goalscorer Jermain Defoe.

Jermain Defoe says the Sunderland squad cannot dwell on the fact they have made the worst ever start to a season in the club’s history, writes Richard Mennear.

Arsenal thrashed the Black Cats 4-1 at the Stadium of Light to make it 10 Premier League games without a win in the top flight.

They have just two points and a goal difference of -13.

That is the worst start to a Premier League campaign by any club, and the worst in the club’s history in any division.

Manchester City also had two points from 10 games in 1995-96, but had a slightly superior goal difference of -12.

Defoe, who scored his fifth goal of the season in the defeat, says his team-mates have to tough it out and be inspired by the challenge of turning the season around.

Defoe said: “You have to forget about the records, 10 games without winning a game, it doesn’t matter. So what? It is what it is and you have to take the good with the bad.

“You have to forget about what people are saying, if you can, and stick together.

“As players, we are the ones that can change it.

“We have to look at it as a challenge. It is tough now, but we are the ones that can turn it around.”

Battling relegation is, sadly, nothing new to Sunderland and the 34-year-old says the older members of the squad have a responsibility to help the younger ones through.

The likes of skipper John O’Shea, who was subbed with a hamstring injury against Arsenal, Lee Cattermole and the returning Seb Larsson all have a key role to play, alongside Defoe.

“The lads are obviously a little bit down,” added Defoe.

“After a few days training, you help each other and speak to each other, especially with the younger lads.

“The more experienced players like myself, Sheasy, Catts, Seb Larsson is coming back training.

“We can help the younger lads and just remain positive. Even before I arrived, the lads had been here before.

“When I was going through it in my first year, the lads helped me because it was something different for me.

“It is important to stick together, help the younger lads. It is difficult, but football is good because the next game comes around so quickly.

“You think ‘right, we can get three points now’. As soon as we get the first win, the whole mood and atmosphere around the place changes.

“Everyone is more confident. Then we can express ourselves and do well.”

Defoe cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s first-half header from the penalty spot.

But a collapse saw David Moyes’ side concede three goals in less than seven minutes, with sub Olivier Giroud scoring twice with his first two touches and Sanchez adding a fourth.

Defoe added: “To be honest, when you are playing everything happens so quickly, I couldn’t really see what happened with the goals.

“I’m sure the manager will have a look at it. Everyone makes mistakes, we move on and try not to make the same mistakes.”