LAURENS de Bock is determined to make the most of a fresh challenge at Sunderland having suffered a number of set-backs at Leeds United that affected his overall mind-set.

After discussing the move with compatriot and former Black Cats goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Belgian de Bock is convinced he has made the right move to drop down to League One.

It is a bold move by a player harbouring hopes of playing in the Premier League when he signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at Elland Road in January last year after five years with Brugge following a £3.5m switch from Lokeren.

That saw him appear in Europe and help Brugge to win the Belgian Cup, but his experience at Leeds never worked out like he had hoped so he has joined Sunderland on a season long loan.

“The manager (Thomas Christiansen) at Leeds got sacked after three weeks of me being there!” said de Bock. “A new manager (Paul Heckingbottom) came in and at the end of the season he got sacked too. Another manager came (Marcelo Bielsa) and it was difficult then.

“The results were not good and my own game was not so good so they decided to buy another left-back. My first two games were really good but I picked up an injury and there was a negative feeling around everything. I just wanted to do better, now we’ll see what happens.”

Leeds are a club drawing in full-houses again in a bid to reach the top-flight in the Championship, and they have had to go through their own transformation having dipped into League One themselves not too long ago.

“With the history of Sunderland everybody expects them to be at the highest level,” said de Bock. “I don’t know what happened in the past but we only have one way to go, and that’s up. We will try do to everything we can to do that. We just have to win every game and hopefully we can go up for the fans.

“There are similarities with Leeds, with the club and the fans. Everybody is telling me that when we play away a lot of fans come and it was the same at Leeds. Both clubs are really big so my first impressions are that they’re a little bit similar.

“I think that’s why everybody plays football, to play in full stadiums and I think I play a little bit better when the pressure is there, so I like it.”

De Bock could easily have held out at Leeds but after chatting with Mignolet he felt he was making the right move.

“Simon was really happy here, he liked it here but if you have the chance to go Liverpool like he did, you have to go. He was positive about living here with his family and the club,” said de Bock.

“We (club and player) have spoken about the possibility of a permanent deal here and if everything goes well, and I feel good, we can always talk about the possibilities. We will see how the next few months go. The contact between Sunderland and Leeds has been very good.”

The 26-year-old has played for Belgium at every level apart from senior, and at 26 he would love to get his career back on track. He will compete with Denver Hume for the left-back slot and has different attributes.

He said: “I’m a real defender, I like to tackle. I like to cross the ball too, I’m really a team player. Now a lot of coaches want the backs to go high and play attacking football but I’m more defensive than attacking.”