Jack Rodwell is determined to avoid the "fear factor" of becoming embroiled in another relegation battle by making a strong start to the Premier League season.
In the past four years Sunderland have failed to win any of their opening four matches in the top flight and midfielder Rodwell has stressed the importance of hitting the ground running this time around.
"The only way we can get rid of that fear factor is to get a few points on the board early doors so everything settles down," he told the Sunderland Echo.
"You don't want to be four games into the season and not having a win. That's when that tension builds and you can understand that, from a supporter's point of view.
"The first few games are good for us this year.
"If we started the season like how we've finished the last two seasons, then we'll be fine.
"You don't want to be relying on having to win five out of the last eight games or whatever."
Sunderland start their 2015/16 Premier League campaign with a trip to Leicester City on Saturday.
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