New boy seeks big improvement
New defender Carlos Cuellar is calling on his team-mates to get serious to ensure Sunderland are fully prepared for the new campaign.
The Black Cats were disappointing again as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat to Helsingborgs in Sweden in their latest pre-season friendly, and the Spaniard admitted as much in the wake of the game. It's now three defeats from four matches for Martin O'Neill's men and the former Aston Villa centre-back knows that needs to improve in their remaining warm-up fixtures against Derby and Leicester, to raise their hopes of making a positive start at Arsenal on August 18th. Despite voicing his concerns, Cuellar, who returned to action on Saturday after a thigh injury he picked up in South Korea, is convinced with a little more hard work they will be ready for their Premier League opener. He told the Chronicle: "The next two games are important because we have been training for a long time. "We know the mistakes we cannot make and we need to treat these two friendlies like they are proper league games. "We have to improve at keeping hold of the ball, but we are not making excuses. "We are working hard to get fitter and fitter. "We had a lot of chances on Saturday and we were maybe unlucky we did not score. "The main thing is to carry on working hard and be ready for Arsenal. "They scored a good goal with a strong shot and then in less than five minutes they scored another one on the counter-attack. We have to learn from that. "We know everybody likes to win and no-one likes to lose, but we are still working to improve our concentration and fitness. "It is pre-season and you have to work hard to do your best."