Larsson: We all have to chip in

  • Last Updated: January 21 2013, 7:19 GMT

Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson believes the key to the Black Cats staying out of trouble is not to rely on Steven Fletcher.

Steven Fletcher: Has impressed for Sunderland
Steven Fletcher: Has impressed for Sunderland

The Scotland international had his shooting boots on again at the DW Stadium, scoring twice in a 3-2 win that moved the Wearsiders into the safety of mid-table.

It took Fletcher's seasonal tally to 10, more than a third of the 27 Sunderland have scored this season.

And Larsson, who got off the mark himself against West Ham last weekend, knows it is not healthy to leave it to one man to find the net.

"We relied on him way too much earlier in the season," said Larsson.

"We all have to chip in, which would give him a bit more space as well as opposition teams have other players to worry about as well."

Wigan are evidently one of Fletcher's favourite opponents given he has now scored six times against them in seven games.

His latest brace was impressive, rattling home the first from close range after Ali Al-Habsi had saved his header, then curling Adam Johnson's knockback in from the edge of the area just before half-time.

"Six in seven is not a bad record," said Larsson.

"Fair play to him, they were two great finishes, both instinctive finishes.

"Steven's overall play, the way he can hold the ball up and his link play are very important for us."

Wigan's inability to resist Fletcher after Craig Gardner had levelled David Vaughan's early own-goal from the penalty spot gave them too much to do.

The hosts improved markedly after the break though, with Roger Espinoza and Angelo Henriquez both impressing on their Premier League debuts.

Indeed, Henriquez netted what manager Roberto Martinez expects to be the first of many goals in English football 11 minutes from time when the on-loan Manchester United man rose to head home Shaun Maloney's cross.

However, results elsewhere dumped them back into the drop zone and once again facing a tough battle for survival in a season when many expected them to climb into the lofty heights of mid-table.

Martinez has declared an intention to head back into the transfer market for defensive reinforcements as he does not believe his squad can cope without Ivan Ramis, who will miss the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury, and Antolin Alcaraz, whose groin injury has kept him out for virtually the entire season.

Yet Al-Habsi insists Wigan will survive.

"It's not good to be in the bottom three. But we believe in ourselves and we can get out of it," said the Oman keeper.

"There are around six teams involved and 15 games left, so there are a lot of games to play.

"No one is going to get complacent. It is hard to be in this position but we are still confident."


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