‘Aggresive’ Wahbi Khazri vows to fight for Sunderland spot

Wahbi Khazri
Wahbi Khazri

Wahbi Khazri never doubted himself as the Sunderland winger looks to put a frustrating start to the season behind him.

The 25-year-old made his first Premier League start in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion after falling out of favour under new boss David Moyes.

But the tricky forward, who impressed on his return to the side, insists he was always up to the challenge of winning his place back.

And he is now looking for an extended run as he bids to get back to the form which saw the £9million signing help keep the Black Cats up last season.

When asked if it has been a frustrating spell, he told the Gazette: “Yes, I am happy because this is my first start this season in the league.

“Now I need to work. I don’t have the rhythm to my play because I haven’t played as much.

“I was happy with my performance. I had some good runs and passing was good, but I wasn’t happy because we didn’t win the game.

“Last season was totally different because I played every game.

“This season I haven’t – I need to work.

“I didn’t doubt myself.

“I am aggressive, I like the fight! Every day I work and want to help the team.”

He added: “I am happy because my last game was with the international team, so I am happy to be back playing.

“Now we need concentration for the next game. This game is finished. Focus is now on the next game.”

Sunderland remain without a win after the opening seven league games and are not back in action again until a week on Saturday due to the second international break.

Khazri believes there were plenty of positives to take from the draw ahead of the trip to Stoke City.

“It was a good game, if JD (Jermain Defoe) had scored in the first few minutes, it would have been a different game, but sometimes he misses,” added Khazri.

“There was a good reaction from the team. We didn’t win, so now we need three points and we have to wait two weeks for the next game.

“We go to Stoke City looking to win the game.”

The Tunisian international was pushed into the number 10 role when Sunderland switched to a wing-back system with the introduction of Patrick van Aanholt.

And the former Bordeaux playmaker believes that is his best position.

“I think the change in tactics was good for the team. I played number 10 and I am happy because I like this position,” he added.

“I like playing behind Jermain, I touch the ball more.

“When I have the ball. I can play right or left of him and. for Jermain. I think it is better because he needs one or two players to play with him.

“I am happy to be playing in behind him.”

Khazri will now team up with his international team-mates ahead of Tunisia’s 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Guinea on Sunday.

He added: “I need the game for my legs. The last 10 minutes against West Brom I was tight.”