Larsson aiming for Sunderland to start fast

The Swedish midfielder is eyeing a good opening to the season for Martin O'Neill's side as they look to make a brighter start than that which left them struggling last December
Sebastian Larsson is looking for Sunderland to build on their revival in the second half of last season and get off to a strong start in the Premier League this time round.

The Black Cats endured a dismal start to their last campaign and were firmly entrenched in the relegation zone when Steve Bruce was sacked and replaced by Martin O'Neill in December.

The former Aston Villa boss steered them to a comfortable mid-table finish, aided by the Swede, who has established himself as a key player at the Stadium of Light since his arrival from Birmingham City on a free transfer last summer.

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"I've not had that much time to think about it but I want to progress," he told Sunderland's official website.

"I know what was good and bad last season.

"Obviously we wanted to get off to a much better start because it's always tough when you don't begin the season well.

"Hopefully we can get a good start and push on from there. If we can do that, we know what we're capable of a bit of confidence can really push us on."

Larsson's excellent debut season saw him finish as the club's joint-top scorer with eight goals in 2011-12, but the 27-year-old insists that he is identifying no personal targets for the upcoming campaign, preferring to focus on team glory.

"Even if I'm scoring a few goals, if the team aren't getting points then I don't take much satisfaction from that," he added.

"There were periods during last season where my personal game was working well and parts where it wasn't.

"I always try to progress and improve every season and that's what I'm going to try and do this time."