Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar in peak condition ahead of derby day

Carlos Cuellar: Looking forward to Sunderland's derby date with Newcastle

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Carlos Cuellar claims to have worked his way back to full fitness just in time for Sunderland's derby date with Newcastle United.

Summer signing Cuellar was recently forced to sit out two games with a hamstring strain, but returned to the side for a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City last time out.

The 31-year-old defender believes important minutes picked up in that encounter, and hard work during the international break, will have him in peak condition for his first taste of Wear-Tyne rivalries on Sunday.

"This is a good opportunity for me, it's a derby game," Cuellar told the Sunderland Echo.

"The City game was the first one I played after my injury, but now I've had a bit more time to prepare and I feel great.

"I've got my fitness levels back and we were very disappointed at Manchester City because after five minutes we were behind to a free-kick goal. But, even so, we can take confidence from it because we hung in there, we were good and we were strong.

"We have already showed how good we are defensively and how good we are attacking.

"We've had the opportunity to have a break, to relax and prepare for the game on Sunday."

Confidence

Defeat to Manchester City saw Sunderland's unbeaten start to the season brought to an abrupt halt, but Cuellar insists the mood remains upbeat inside the Stadium of Light camp.

He added: "You have to learn from your mistakes, but in Spain we say you cannot take your skin off just because you make a mistake or lose a game.

"I think the confidence in the team is very high.

"When you lose everyone is unhappy, but if you look at the table and you look at the games we have played before that, you don't have to be scared or lose any confidence because I think the team is doing very well."