Strong Sunderland team spirit key to impact of January signings

Lamine Kone admits he is at a loss as to the exact reason behind why Sunderland's new signings have all settled so quickly.

Saturday, 20th February 2016, 8:15 am
Lamine Kone.

But he points to the strong team spirit within the Black Cats squad as one possible reason.

Kone, a £5million recruit from Lorient, was among the five new faces to arrive at the Stadium of Light in January, with Wahbi Khazri, Jan Kirchhoff, Steve Harper and Dame N’Doye added to the squad by Sam Allardyce.

And the four outfield players have all made an instant impact, with Kone’s header helping the Black Cats to a 2-1 win over Manchester United last time out.

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The squad is currently in Dubai, taking advantage of a free weekend after being knocked out of the FA Cup by holders Arsenal.

And Kone has praised his new teammates for helping the latest recruits to settle quickly into life in the North East.

Kone, who has struck up an immediate partnership with captain John O’Shea at the heart of defence, added: “I’m not sure why we’ve all adapted so quickly.

“The group here have all helped us in integrating with the club.

“The Premier League is obviously a big difference.

“But they’ve answered all of our questions.”

Sunderland’s hopes of extending their stay in the top flight were boosted by the United victory.

And the late win against Louis van Gaal’s side, which followed the dramatic, late comeback against Liverpool at Anfield indicates a strong team spirit within the Sunderland camp.

Sunderland have this week been using the facilities at Dubai Sports City – run by ex-Real Madrid full-back Michel Salgado, who played under Allardyce at Blackburn.

They return to league action against West Ham United next Saturday.