EMANUELE GIACCHERINI has warned that Sunderland’s mental toughness will be put to the test at newly-promoted Burnley this weekend.
The Black Cats have fought back from a goal down to secure a draw in three of their opening four Premier League outings, despite being dominated by an impressive Spurs side last Saturday.
While Gus Poyet’s men remain on the look-out for a first top flight victory of the campaign, Sunderland have demonstrated there is more resilience in their ranks than at this stage 12 months ago.
But Italian international Giaccherini believes Sunderland will need all of that new-found determination in front of almost 4,000 travelling supporters at Turf Moor this Saturday.
Newly-promoted Burnley haven’t scored since the opening weekend of the campaign, yet Giaccherini knows the Clarets will be desperate to record a first Premier League win since May 2010.
Giaccherini told the Echo: “Our two home games have been difficult against Man United and Tottenham.
“For me, I think we’ve made a good start. These are not easy games.
“But Burnley is a different game. Maybe less quality, but they’ll be more aggressive and have more attitude.
“We are mentally stronger now. This season for me, the mentality has changed.
“Every player thinks for the team, rather than themselves, and that’s important.”
He added: “We were very happy with a great point against Spurs.
“It wasn’t easy because Tottenham are a very strong team.
“But in the end, a point was a good result.
“Last season, we would have lost that game.
“This year, it’s better because when the team is suffering, all the players stay in the game for 90 minutes.”
Giaccherini is in contention to make his first start of the campaign at Turf Moor after impressing Poyet on the training ground throughout the summer and helping the Black Cats snatch a point against Spurs, following his introduction from the bench.
And he realises he needs to feature prominently under Poyet to keep his place in the Italy squad after being recalled to the fold by new national team boss - and his former Juventus manager - Antonio Conte earlier this month.
“I’m very happy to be back in the squad,” added the 29-year-old, who was culled from the Italy set-up for the summer’s World Cup.
“I played two games and 90 minutes (during the international break) and we won them both. It’s important for me to be back.
“It’s good to have Conte in charge. He knows me.
“It’s obviously important for me to play for Sunderland to continue with Italy.
“But now, I’m only thinking about Sunderland. Within a month, I can think about the national team again.”
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