Sunderland’s points tally against Liverpool and Manchester United has surprised even the Black Cats squad, admits Lamine Kone.
And the imposing 27-year-old centre back has urged his team-mates to use the newly-gained momentum when their battle for Premier League survival resumes.
Sam Allardyce has this week taken his squad to the warmer climes of Dubai for a mid-season training camp given they have a free weekend.
January recruit Kone, who starred in the 2-1 win over Manchester United, is relishing life in the top flight.
And despite the club’s perilous position, he says confidence levels have been handed a major boost after picking up four points in the last two games.
The points tally could – and probably should – have been even greater after arguably their best performance in the narrow 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.
“It was important to take some points against one of the three big teams,” Kone told the Gazette. “We’ve got four points out of nine against them, which isn’t bad at all.
“It’s perhaps more than we’d hoped for.
“We can look towards the next match at West Ham United and hope we can get another victory.
“The situation in the relegation battle is still difficult and we still need to win more games.
“We’ll need to win as many games as possible for us to remain in the Premier League.”
The Ivory Coast international headed home the winner in Saturday’s 2-1 victory, albeit the goal subsequently went down as an own goal by Manchester United stopper David De Gea.
With results elsewhere going their way, those precious three points against Louis van Gaal’s side saw Sunderland climb to within a point of safety ahead of the enforced break after the Black Cats were knocked out of the FA Cup.
“It was such an important match for us,” added Kone, who was delighted to net his first ‘goal’.
“Throughout the match, we were very combative and I managed to [help] get the goal from the corner.
“It’s my first goal in the Premier League and I’m very happy, but more importantly to help the team to a win.
“That makes it all the more special.
“With the quality that Wahbi puts on his corner, I was happy to [help] score the goal.”