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O'Shea: Experience key in relegation battle

Sunderland defender John O'Shea believes the club's experience in relegation battles will be key in their fight for survival this season. 

The club are second-last in the Premier League table after 20 games, four points away from climbing out of the relegation zone.

A win against bottom-placed Aston Villa on Saturday ended their run of five successive defeats, moving them seven points above Remi Garde's side. 

O'Shea says the players were buoyed by that victory and knows their experience in the past will be a huge help in the scrap for safety. 

"More optimistic? Yes in the sense of knowing you have done it and you’ve shown the character and the attitude and application to move up the table in tough situations in the past," he said. 

"We’ve been there and done it.  Hopefully the manager will get the help to improve the squad as well. That’s key, we need to increase competition and the quality and keep everyone on their toes.

"If we can get that as well as some wins in January it’ll be a good month."

He added: "Some weeks results are going to go for you but ultimately it’s your results that count. They’re the things that matter.

"We still had enough games to get out of trouble. It was vitally important we got the win against Villa, but if we hadn’t, there still would have been plenty games to go.

"We can’t afford to look at other teams, it’s down to ourselves. That’s what we’ve done these last few years when we’ve been in those situations. If we keep winning, that’ll be the most important thing."

Sunderland face an important fixture against fellow relegation-threatened side Swansea City next Wednesday.