Steven Fletcher dismisses Sunderland relegation talk

The striker, who scored the only goal of the game as the Black Cats returned to winning ways against Southampton, says dropping divisions is never discussed between team-mates

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has dismissed talk of the club being in a relegation scrap after the Black Cats’ 1-0 win over Southampton on Saturday.

The forward, who signed for the club from Wolves for £12 million in the summer, scored his eighth goal of the season in the victory as the Black Cats returned to winning ways following the loss to Manchester United.

Sunderland had been on a poor run of form that had seen them lose four of their last seven league games, and had them flirting with relegation and, despite their decline, Fletcher maintains the team did not once consider themselves in a relegation battle.

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"People were talking about relegation before the game, but we were never talking about it and we weren’t listening to that kind of talk," Fletcher told The Journal.

"We never listened to that at all. We’re a good side and we know we are. We just need to take every game as it comes and hope we get a few more wins.”

Sunderland currently sit 15th in the table, four points clear of the drop zone and Fletcher is confident that they will soon move up the table.

He continued: "2013 can be a good year for Sunderland – we just need to go on a run. If we build up a bit of momentum that will be good for us. We just need to get this difficult Christmas out of the way and start putting as many points on the board as possible."

Sunderland’s festive fixture list sees them host Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day in a match that saw the Black Cats take all three points last season.

Indeed, Martin O’Neill’s side were the only team to take four points off the champions last season and Fletcher admits that a similar result would be perfect serve as a huge boost.

"It would be nice to get another goal under my belt and another win for the team," the 25-year-old added.

"Although it’s Manchester City so you know nothing will come easy against them."