Derby lucky charm Seb Larsson says his Sunderland future was destined to be bleak under Dick Advocaat after being frozen out by the ex-Black Cats boss.
Larsson is one of just three players who have featured in all five of Sunderland’s back-to-back wins against Newcastle United, with the midfielder’s chances of being involved in a possible sixth successive victory on Sunday much-improved after the arrival of Sam Allardyce.
Last year’s Player of the Season was dropped by Advocaat from the starting XI after August’s defeat to Norwich and from that point, the Dutchman didn’t see Larsson as part of his plans.
But Larsson was recalled to the side for Allardyce’s opening game in charge at West Brom last weekend and is in contention to keep his place in this weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby, albeit £8million summer signing Jeremain Lens is available again after suspension.
Larsson told the Gazette: “It was a frustrating time. That’s football.
“Some managers use some players, some use others.
“My situation under Dick was very clear, so I knew I wasn’t really going to feature.
“But that’s part of the game. Every manager chooses whatever team he wants.
“Of course it’s frustrating, because you want to help.
“It was nice to be back at West Brom, although it was a particularly frustrating day anyway.
“You want to kick on after last season, but I knew I wasn’t really in contention to play, regardless of what was going on.
“That was up to the manager to decide. Yes, you can disagree, but it’s their position and you have to just get on with it.”
While Sunderland were tasting defeat at West Brom last weekend, Newcastle broke their duck 24 hours later with a 6-2 rout over Norwich to send their neighbours back to the basement.
But Larsson is not convinced that recent results, nor Sunderland’s stunning run over the Magpies, are accurate indicators for what lies in store this weekend.
“We know what we’ve done recently, but in these derby games, it’s about performing on the day – who wants it the most,” added the 30-year-old.
“Hopefully we can continue our record against them.
“We’ve done it before, but I’m sure they’ll want revenge. It’s a big game, let’s put it that way!
“I’ll be more than happy to keep that record going.
“It’s been nice having a full week with the new manager.
“We only got our squad back together last week on Thursday/Friday.
“I’m sure he’s got his ideas over how to get the best out of us and we’ve just got to make sure we do it on the pitch.”