Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Boy Bassila Targets Revival

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Boy Bassila Targets Revival

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Christian Bassila hopes to consign the memories of the darkest days of his career to the past by using his maiden appearance at the Stadium of Light to help Sunderland collect their first Premiership points of the season, writes Paul Gilder.

The midfielder left Strasbourg under a cloud last month ( he was barracked by his own team's supporters on the opening weekend of the French league campaign ( but, having made an encouraging debut for the Black Cats at Stamford Bridge at the weekend, Bassila is determined to establish himself as a Wearside favourite.

The promising Parisian last night revealed that he is not yet fully fit and insisted he will deliver an improved performance should he be selected to face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

It is a fixture Mick McCarthy's men dare not lose and if Bassila can help inspire Sunderland to victory, he knows he can become an instant hero at his new club.

"I want to do good things with Sunderland," said the 27-year-old, who, on the evidence of his committed debut against Chelsea, appears an astute signing on McCarthy's part.

"After five seasons at Strasbourg I wanted to leave, I wanted to move on so that I could see something else, but the club did not want me to go. It made me very unpopular with the chairman and the supporters, and I got booed during the first game of the French season.

"But that is finished with now and I'm only thinking about Sunderland. I'm happy to be here and I want to do well." Bassila's departure on a free transfer last month was not mourned by Strasbourg supporters, who felt aggrieved that he had made the team ahead of the more-popular Sidi Keita for the club's opening-day fixture against Auxerre.

The physical presence he has brought to McCarthy's struggling squad means that his participation at the Stadium of Light this weekend would be celebrated.

"I like to tackle and take the ball from the feet of opponents ( it's my job, I have long legs, for me, sitting in midfield is my job," explained the only defensive midfield specialist on the Black Cats' books, who will spend this week working hard on improving his fitness levels. …

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