Lamine Kone explains how defensive unit could be basis for Sunderland's survival

Sunderland have kept three clean sheets in four games.

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone has said his central defensive partnership with Younes Kaboul could prove key to the side's survival in the top flight.

The Black Cats have kept three clean sheets in their last four games, including yesterday's 0-0 draw with Arsenal which moved them out of the relegation zone on goal difference.

Kone is quoted in the Sunderland Echo: “The partnership with Younes has started to work straightaway and we’re getting better and better.

“We obviously speak the same language, which perhaps makes things a bit easier. And we’re also working well with DeAndre (Yedlin) and Pat (van Aanholt). It’s important to operate as a whole unit.

“It was important for us to get clean sheets as quickly as possible and hopefully we can continue that."

They certainly performed very well against Arsenal and limited the Gunners to very few opportunities, and it seems that manager Sam Allardyce has found his solid and settled back four which is crucial for the side going into the relegation run-in.

Keeping things solid at the back will be crucial in their final four games of the season as they hope to do enough to edge out Norwich City and Newcastle United and retain their place in the top flight.

Sunderland seem to have a good mix of strength and experience at the heart of their defence, while their full-backs have shown they are tenacious, quick and a good option for the side going forward.

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