Fabio Borini admits the first goal of his second Sunderland spell is a weight off his shoulders, despite the Black Cats’ defeat at Chelsea.
One of the few - if any - positives to emerge from a dispiriting 3-1 loss at Chelsea was a consolation for Borini after the Italian was introduced from the bench at half-time.
Since returning to the Stadium of Light in a £10million move from Liverpool during the summer, Borini has cut a frustrated figure and missed a pair of golden opportunities to re-open his Sunderland account in the previous two games against Arsenal and Watford.
But Borini’s animated celebration at Stamford Bridge highlighted the magnitude of his first Premier League goal since January, plus sparked a vast improvement in Sunderland’s performance levels.
“Obviously the result is the one that counts, but my first goal is important after all the hard work I’ve done in the past few months and the bad things that happened last season,” said Borini.
“Hopefully this is the first of many.
“After that goal, we changed the intensity and started to press and we had more personality to get the ball into feet and cause them problems, rather than just hitting it long.
“Obviously they were confident at 3-0 and probably cooled a bit down, but we changed our attitude, which you need to have if you’re going to fight relegation.”
However, Sunderland’s defeat - coupled with surprise away victories for fellow relegation contenders Bournemouth and Norwich - sent the Black Cats deeper into trouble in the drop zone.
Sam Allardyce’s side are now five points adrift of safety, heading into back-to-back encounters against Manchester City and Liverpool.
“You can see this year that there are not any obvious results because Newcastle and Bournemouth have beaten the big teams,” added Borini.
“You can’t rely on other teams losing.
“We need to focus on ourselves, not on other results.”