Sunderland's on-loan midfielder believes a West Brom victory is 'Ki' to a good season (From The Northern Echo)
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Sunderland's on-loan midfielder believes a West Brom victory is 'Ki' to a good season
SUNDERLAND midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung has reinforced the importance of a maiden league victory on Saturday to kick-start his new side's season.
The 24-year-old South Korean international signed on a season-long loan from Swansea City a fortnight ago, making his debut in Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, which sent Paolo Di Canio's team to the bottom of the Premier League.
The Black Cats visit fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on Saturday in what will be billed as an early-season six-pointer, but Ki saw enough positive signs against The Gunners to convince the former Celtic man that this season can be a positive one.
“I think we did well in the second half, it was a bit unlucky with the referee’s decision so there are positives to take out of it,” said Ki, whose side were denied a second goal when referee Martin Atkinson failed to play advantage when Jozy Altidore had slotted home.
“I just need some time to get fit and I can do better and better.
“It was my first game and my first start in four months. It was physically quite tough for me to play one of the best teams in Europe.
“It was tough against Arsenal but we did well in the second half, we had more desire. We tried to win more balls. If you have the desire you will play better.
“The next game is a key game for us. We should win it. We have a good chance. If we win the next game the atmosphere will be different.
“We have both had bad starts and both teams are desperate to win.”
Sunderland's defeat sees the Black Cats at the foot of the table with one point on the board, but Ki is not worried by the side's league position, adding: “It’s too early to worry. There’s still 34 games left.
“It doesn’t look good that we’re bottom of the table but we don’t have to be disappointed and we don’t have to be worried.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t care but we should be concentrating on winning and we don’t need to worry about the table at the moment.”
West Brom could go bottom should Sunderland take the points on Saturday, but were boosted yesterday by the news that Stephane Sessegnon, who swapped Wearside for the West Midlands in a £6m deal on transfer deadline day, has received a work permit and is available to face his old club.
With 'gentlemen's agreements' between clubs now strictly forbidden, where it was once possible to prohibit a former player's involvement in the first game between new club and old, Sessegnon is likely to start against Sunderland.
Ki is one of Sunderland's 14 new boys, and with the largest spread of nationalities in the Premier League it is easy to assume that there will be cultural differences in the dressing room. But the midfielder does not believe this is a problem on the pitch.
“We have a good squad - there are a lot of other nationalities and we are trying to get used to each other,” he said.
“We’re trying to work with each other - it has only been four games so far. There’s a lot of potential to be better in the future.
“I don’t think there is a problem with all the nationalities. When I was at Swansea there were also a lot of different nationalities. I don’t care - it doesn’t matter, they all speak English, we all know each other and there is no problem.
“We just want to win games and the nationality issue will not matter if we win games.”
Di Canio spent much of the summer asking director of football Roberto De Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni to procure a central midfielder, with Tom Huddlestone the Black Cats' main target before he signed for Hull City.
But Ki believes he can play that role to link midfield to attack, and defence to midfield to make his side a cohesive unit.
“There are differences between Swansea and Sunderland,” said Ki. “I have to adapt to a new environment. I have to adapt quickly to this kind of playing style but I like it.
“I like picking out long balls and I like linking the play between defence and attack. I’d like to do that more here than I did at Swansea.
“I want to do my best to try and help this team because they need me. There’s pressure on me but there is always pressure.
“I have just played one game and now I want to show my qualities for the team.”
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