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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Larsson wary of relegation repeat

Sebastian Larsson hopes that his previous experience of Premier League relegation can aid Sunderland's bid to avoid the drop this season.

• Blog: PDC needs spirit of '73

The 27-year-old is not new to the threat of demotion having suffered it with Birmingham City in 2011, just three months after winning the Carling Cup against Arsenal. Alongside former Blues team-mate Craig Gardner, striker Steven Fletcher, David Vaughan and Matt Kilgallon, the current Sunderland squad has a total of five players that have previously endured the pain of relegation.

"It might help us that some of us have been through this before," Larsson told the Sunderland Echo. "Whether that has a positive or negative effect, you can never tell. You can only speculate about that. We've got to focus on ourselves and get back to what we did in the previous three weeks before Aston Villa."

Attempting to use his past experience as a positive, Larsson also believes the Black Cats have more than enough quality to beat the drop despite their 6-1 humbling by Villa last time out.

"Of course you don't want to experience relegation again, but I'm not thinking about that to be honest," he explained. "That's in the past and this is a completely different situation. I'm at a different stage of my career and at a different club. We're in a situation we shouldn't be in and we've given ourselves a good chance to get out of it.

"The gaffer said when he came in that the last seven games were all cup finals until we get to where we need to. Hopefully that is Monday night. We've put in some terrific displays, beat Newcastle away and beat a very strong Everton side at home. And then on the other side, we went and lost to Aston Villa 6-1. If you don't turn up, you're going to struggle."

He went on to add: "It's going to hurt a lot after a performance like that [against Villa] and it does, trust me. But we've got to remember the positives from previous weeks and what we can do and how solid we've been. There's no reason we can't get back to that. We've got to focus on our own performances."

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