Sunderland's Lamine Kone says side may have picked up more points in recent run than expected

Sunderland have faced difficult Premier League fixtures against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone has said his side didn't expect to pick up as many points as they did during the last three games.

The Black Cats faced a difficult run of fixtures against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United - and after narrowly missing out against City, they managed to fight back to earn a draw at Anfield from two goals down before defeat United at the Stadium of Light at the weekend.

Kone told the Sunderland Echo: “It was important to take some points against one of the three big teams. We’ve got four points out of nine against them, which isn’t bad at all.

“It’s perhaps more than we’d hoped for.

“The situation in the relegation battle is still difficult and we still need to win more games.

“We’ll need to win as many games as possible for us to remain in the Premier League.”

The results have moved Sunderland to within a point of safety with 12 games of the season remaining. After that difficult run of fixtures they have positioned themselves well to escape the drop, and face another tricky fixture at the end of the month when they travel to West Ham.

One thing that Sunderland can't afford to do now is rest on their laurels. They have got a couple of positive results and they must try to build on that and try and survive in the most comfortable fashion possible. That is, of course, easier said than done.

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