Emanuele Giaccherini insists completing 90 minutes was far more significant to him than netting a brace in Sunderland’s pre-season opener.
Giaccherini’s two goals helped Sunderland to a 4-2 win over Evo-Stik League outfit Darlington 1883 in their opening friendly last night after Martin Gray’s Quakers had raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening 20 minutes.
The goals don’t matter, because that’s part of football, but for fitness after the injury, it’s okayEmanuele Giaccherini
It was at Heritage Park last season where Giaccherini suffered a groin strain on the eve of the Premier League campaign which began a series of injury problems that limited him to just eight top-flight appearances.
But now Giaccherini is back and is desperate to make up for lost time.
“I’m happy to be back playing for the first time and playing 90 minutes,” he said.
“That’s good for my fitness, although I was tired in the last 15 minutes.
“The goals don’t matter, because that’s part of football, but for fitness after the injury, it’s okay.
“I forgot that it was at Darlington that I got injured last season with the groin, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for this season because I want to play all of it.”
The Italian international doesn’t try to mask the frustration which he endured throughout last season after the groin strain was followed by two lay-offs with an ankle injury.
But now he is focused on looking forwards –particularly with Italy’s likely participation in the European Championships in France next summer.
“Yes, last season was really, really hard because I had to watch the games from the stands,” added the 30-year-old.
“But now we’re starting again and this season for me is so important.
“The injuries are part of football, but now I’ve forgotten the injuries and this season is another season.
“I want to play as many games as possible and after that there’s the Euros.”