Sunderland defender has been stunned by this at the Stadium of Light

Jan Kirchhoff cannot believe the unwavering support of Black Cats fans despite the club's struggles.

Sunderland January signing Jan Kirchhoff has hailed the "unbelievable" support the team receives from the club's fans despite struggling in the relegation zone in an interview with the Wearsiders' official website.

The 25-year-old joined Sam Allardyce's side from Bayern Munich in January on an 18-month contract after making just 12 appearances for the Germany champions.

The defender endured a torrid start to life at the Stadium of Light, deflecting a shot into his own net and conceding a penalty during a 30-minute substitute cameo on his debut against Tottenham Hotspur last month.

He has made three further appearances since that nightmare introduction to English football, and says that the thing which has struck him most about the club is the unwavering nature of their support.

He told the club's official site: "To get this support is unbelievable because this is what we are playing football for. [We] play for the fans shouting our names and supporting us; it is nice to be in a stadium and create a feeling of success.

"The atmosphere of fighting and playing football is just something to enjoy. We try our best to create this feeling so to have the fans support us and be proud of us is something hopefully we can take forward."

Sunderland face West Ham United this weekend as they look to force their way out of the relegation zone ahead of the season's run-in.

A streak of improved form, during which the Black Cats have lost just two of their last seven Premier League matches, has seen them move to within a single point of escaping the relegation zone.

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