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Is this Seb Larsson's most dramatic rallying cry yet? The return of Sunderland fighting talk

Seb Larsson says Sunderland are up against a wall with a knife to their throat and Lamine Kone claims 'this isn't done yet'; has the desperate state of this latest relegation battle roused the trash-talking, fighting speak at last from deep within the bowels of the Premier League's ultimate bounce-back club?

Sunderland v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Seb Larsson - We have a knife to our throat

Sebastian Larsson has become somewhat famed for his annual rallying cries at Sunderland. The Swedish midfielder is traditionally amongst the most vocal of the Black Cats squad as the club he has spent six seasons at approach each spring-time deep in the relegation mire.

And with Sunderland occupying bottom place in the Premier League as March marches on, and faced with seemingly their biggest battle to avoid the drop yet, Larsson has delivered his most dramatic call-to-arms ever.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League
Sebastian Larsson throws himself at Sergio Aguero in Sunday's match against Manchester City
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Speaking to the media in Sweden, Larsson has declared that this team have appeared to gasp their final breath on more than occasion in recent seasons before roaring back to life:

We have been where we have had the knife against our throat before we've managed to turn it into something positive.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League
Sebastian Larsson celebrating with Dick Advocaat as Sunderland avoided relegation in 2015
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

With Sunderland now in desperate trouble and with less points at this stage of the season than in any previous relegation battle, the veteran of over 150 appearances in a red-and-white shirt believes his teammates can do it again:

Of course I believe that we can find a way to get enough points required. It is clear, if you look at the league table we are in a difficult position right now, but we know that recently we have been through worse situations and managed to solve them.

There is nothing that can be solved easily, but we believe in it and everyone is working hard together and we know that it can change quickly.

Larsson is one of Sunderland's longest serving players and has fought through more relegation battles in England's top flight than most footballers would ever dread to imagine. But, he is clear that this squad retains sufficient experience of beating the drop when all looks lost to scrap back again this season:

We have a number of players who have experience and who have been in similar situations before and been successful in the end. You have to try and use that kind of experience.

Everyone knows what is needed and roughly how many points you need to have.

We put ourselves in this position and we cannot look for someone else to get us out of it.

But with just eleven games remaining and Sunderland likely needing to win six or seven of them to salvage their Premier League status, the Swede knows time is running out and with Burnley the next team to visit the Stadium of Light, failure to claim three points a week on Saturday may well be curtains for this relegation battle:

It is clear that we cannot wait any longer to pick up points because then the situation will become too difficult, but we are going to fight 'till the last.

Lamine Kone - we're not done with this yet

Centre-back Lamine Kone, one of the stars of last season's escape from relegation, acknowledges that Sunderland are approaching the endgame in this campaign but says that the fixtures remaining mean his side still have a shot of staying in the Premier League.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League
Lamine Kone up against Leroy Sane of Manchester City on Sunday
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

In quotes in the Mirror, the Ivorian defender has said his team are not done with this battle:

We know we're running out of time, but we also know it's not finished yet.

There are still plenty of games for us to keep ourselves safe and we have to keep believing we can do it.

And the 28-year-old has identified the games in which Sunderland need wins in order to double their current 19-points and transform the measly haul into a realistic safety target:

The matches coming up soon will be the most important ones because we still have to play a lot of the teams around us in the table. If we win those games, it will make a lot of difference. We've beaten some of those teams already, so we can do it again.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League
Lamine Kone celebrates scoring Sunderland's third goal as survival was clinched last May
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

So, the fighting talk is back - Let's do this

For weeks Sunderland players have been waffling about vague notions of togetherness and bonding as the fluffy ingredients which might maintain our Premier League status.

But with the void to the safety zone stretching to six points and the games remaining now shrunk to just twelve, have the latest rallying cries of Larsson and Kone seen a much needed shift from the airy-fairy to a hefty dose of trash-talk?

One thing is certain, Sunderland are a deadlier foe when they're roused from docile defeatists into desperate end of season bruisers.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League
Sunderland fans celebrate their side clincing Premier League safety last May
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

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