SEB LARSSON believes every team in the bottom half of the Premier League table will be sweating at the possibility of relegation.
Sunderland’s defeat to Liverpool last weekend left the Black Cats just one point above the bottom three, with Gus Poyet’s men facing a stern challenge to improve their league position in this Saturday’s trip to Champions League-chasing Spurs.
But despite Sunderland’s situation looking precarious after just one point from the four league games since victory in the Tyne-Wear derby, midfielder Larsson insists there is no sense of panic in the Black Cats camp.
The Swedish international points to the concertinaed nature of the bottom half of the table – where only seven points separate fourth bottom Burnley from 10th placed Newcastle – and how there is plenty of opportunity for Sunderland to emerge from that pack of clubs to keep clear of danger.
“You can’t fool yourself and say we’re in no danger whatsoever,” said Larsson.
“As was the case last season, anyone from probably 10th downwards will know anything could happen.
“We’re in the mix. We know that.
“We want to push higher up, but if you’re asking me whether I’m worried about relegation now, my answer is no.
“We know we need to put some points on the board and give ourselves some breathing space, and then push up the table.
“I’d love to be 12 points clear and be right up the table. That’s what we all want to do.
“But there’s still enough games to push on and make this a really good season.
“That’s the thing with the Premier League these days.
“Unless you have a really, really good first half of the season, you don’t get clear of it because there’s that many teams involved.
“Half of the table are more or less involved in a relegation fight or whatever you want to call it.”
However, Larsson knows Sunderland need to produce a response at Spurs after a dreadful display against Liverpool has inevitably prompted question marks this week over the Black Cats’ capabilities of beating the drop.
Larsson concedes there were few – if any positives – to take from the Liverpool defeat, and would have liked an immediate chance to confine the loss to the history books, rather than waiting a week to return to Premier League action.
The 29-year-old added: “Especially in the first half, we didn’t get many things right. Let’s be honest.
“I think there’s been a few games against the so-called bigger teams when we’ve done okay, but we didn’t against Liverpool – both defensively and offensively.
“We conceded a poor goal and I just felt that we never got things right. It was very frustrating.
“In the second half, we did a little bit better, but not too much to be honest.
“We had a man sent off and of course you’re going to try, but 1-0 flattered us rather than them.
“It wasn’t good enough, simple as that.
“Of course you need a response, without a doubt.
“All the boys are very eager for the next game to come around.
“It’s the one time where we’ve had a full week, but it’s probably the one time we didn’t want it.
“Yes, you can recover and feel fresh for the game, but we probably wanted another game straight away.
“Let’s put it in a much better performance, get some points and get ourselves higher up the table again.”