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The 27-year-old believes getting three points on Saturday could be crucial to the Black Cats' season after defeat at Old Trafford left them just above the relegation zone

Sebastian Larsson believes Sunderland's game against Southampton this weekend will be as important as their 3-0 victory over fellow relegation strugglers Reading last Tuesday.

Any momentum gained from the win over the Royals was quickly wiped out by a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, leaving the Black Cats just a point above the relegation zone.

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But Larsson insists it is clashes against teams around the bottom of the Premier League which will define Sunderland's season, and is urging his team-mates to produce when it matters.

"Next weekend is a big as Reading," the Swede told the Hartlepool Mail.

"Although we would have loved to have got something from the game at Old Trafford, it wasn't really seen as a six-pointer.

"We've got to remember what we did against Reading and take the positives from the second half against Manchester United on Saturday.

"If we play to some of the levels we've shown lately, we'll be alright. You just need a couple of results in these games and you fly up the table."

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