The Big Interview - Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing speaks to the Official Site about the threat his former loan club Sunderland pose and his targets for the rest of the season... 
If we work hard, we should be able to beat Sunderland given their lack of confidence after last weekend’s 4-0 defeat?
“We should have beaten them when we played them at their place too. Our own form has been quite good recently. We have to start well and if we play like we did in the second half against Chelsea we’ll win.”
Sunderland are a club you know well, coming from the North-East, and you had a loan spell there. There are similarities between the two clubs, a big fan base and high expectations…
“I think we were in a similar sort of situation last year, we had some suspensions and injuries too. But we’ve come on a long way, we’re harder to beat and we need to continue to improve that.

"I think overall the confidence is still there, we’ve had a little dip in form but all teams do that and we need to bounce back. If we get a win this weekend it sets us up great for the last eight games of the season.”
With the international break coming up, a win is even more important, mainly to avoid the negative headlines carrying on for two weeks?
“Yeah definitely, it would give everyone a lift. The way we’ve been playing and the players we have here, we’re capable of winning. With a new manager in they’ll be lifted and want to impress him so we need to be aware of that and expect a difficult game.”
Where do you see Sunderland’s main threat coming from?
“Steven Fletcher on his day is a goal scorer, Connor Wickham is also a handful. Other than that we’re pretty strong and we’ve got goalscorers of our own in the team.”
You scored a good goal up there, it would be nice to add to your tally this weekend?
“Definitely, I’m due a goal I think but if the team wins then I’m not bothered, that’s the main thing.”