Fletcher lifted by festive win
Steven Fletcher always knew Sunderland's season would start to turn around and believes Saturday's win at Southampton will help them through their tough Christmas period.
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The Black Cats have struggled this season and headed to St Mary's in 16th place, just a point and a place better off than the hosts.
Fletcher's first half strike proved the difference in appalling conditions on the south coast as Martin O'Neill's side eked out a 1-0 win to make it two victories from their last three matches.
"We're all professional boys," the Scotland international said. "We all know what is needed when we need to go and win game.
"I thought it was a good performance. We attacked well and defended well so you're always going to win games when you play like that.
"Sometimes it is not pretty and we ground it out. We needed the three points and we got that.
"We're just happy we got three points and a good performance as well."
It is a result that Fletcher hopes can act as a catalyst for further success this Christmas, with Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool all lying in wait.
"We approach them with a bit of confidence," the striker said.
"We know we've got a hard Christmas period coming up but we've built a bit of confidence and we'll take that into the next game.
"The boys are all very tight. We all get on very well. It is a good bunch of lads.
"If we keep our heads down and keep working hard, we'll get results like this."
Fletcher's instinctive strike on Saturday was the summer signing's eighth league goal of the campaign.
The 25-year-old has shone for Sunderland and would like nothing more than to add to his tally when City visit the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day.
"I think Sessy [Stephane Sessegnon] will take an assist for that one but I think he had a shot," he said with a smile.
"I am just glad I got another goal and we got the win.
"It just came to me quick and my instinct was to side-foot it away. Luckily for me it went in the back of the net.
"It would be nice to get a goal under my belt and another win, but we'll wait to see what happens."
Yesterday's game hardly went the way former Sunderland goalkeeper Kelvin Davis wanted on what was the 600th league appearance of his career.
"It was a bit like the weather," the Southampton club captain said. "We didn't quite get out of second or third gear.
"We showed good flashes, got ourselves in good positions but then didn't have that finishing touch.
"The ball dropped in and around the box for us, but there was nobody around to get their foot on it. On another day that happens."
The defeat raises questions as to whether Saints lost momentum after an enforced two-week break due to scheduled opponents Chelsea's World Club Cup commitments.
"Who knows? We took it as an advantage to get work done on the training ground," Davis said.
"We trained very well and got ourselves prepared for a tough game. I think we were in control for most of the first half and then the goal changed it.
"We got in at a half-time and we felt there was something in the game for us, but credit to Sunderland I thought they defended very well, got bodies on the line."