Larsson warns Black Cats
Sweden star throws down the gauntlet to his team-mates
Last Updated: August 7, 2012 10:53am
Sebastian Larsson: The Sweden star was one of six Sunderland players given an extended break because of their Euro 2012 commitments
Sebastian Larsson has warned his Sunderland team-mates they need to raise their game '20 or 30 levels' or face a tough Premier League season ahead.
Sunderland slumped to their third defeat in four pre-season games, going down 2-0 against Swedish champions Helsingborgs last time out.
Their mauling in Scandinavia came on the back of defeats to Korean side Seongnam in the Peace Cup and against League One Hartlepool.
But it is not the results that have given Larsson sleepless nights as much as the manner in which they were inflicted.
And with a trip to Arsenal looming on the opening day of the season the Swede is expecting much more from his team-mates in their remaining warm-up matches against Derby and Leicester.
"It was a very poor performance at the weekend," said Larsson. "We were well below-par
"We had a very tough week in training and you could see that we looked a bit heavy-legged, but that's no excuse for giving the ball away - and being as bad as we were when we did have possession.
"We know we need to get at least another 20 or 30 levels up before we are ready to perform in the Premier League.
"We should still be able to keep the ball a lot better than we did, and that is something we need to work on.
"We've got two more friendlies this week against Derby and Leicester and hopefully we will perform better in those games.
"Of course, the important thing is that we are building towards the start of the season. Whatever our results and performances are like in pre-season, once the league gets going if we play well and pick up points - that's all that matters.
"But, in an ideal world, you still want to win games and score goals in pre-season so that you arrive at the start of the season full of confidence."