Stephane Sessegnon absence is manageable, says Larsson

Stephane Sessegnon

Midfielder Sebastian Larsson is confident Sunderland can cope with the absence of influential forward Stephane Sessegnon, who is suspended.

The Benin international's red card at Aston Villa on Monday means

"We've lost players through injury or suspension, we can handle that," Larsson told BBC Newcastle.

"Even though we'll miss him a lot we'll adapt and get on with it."

Sessegnon has scored seven of the Black Cats' 39 goals in the Premier League this term, and with 11-goal leading scorer Steven Fletcher out injured, Paolo Di Canio's side are now without two of their most prolific players for the run-in.

"It puts pressure on everyone's shoulders, first we lost Fletcher who was the top goalscorer, and Sessegnon is the third, so it will put pressure on," Larsson added.

"When we lost Fletcher other people stepped up, so we'll have to do that again."

The severity of Monday's defeat by Villa was exacerbated by the 6-1 scoreline which again pitches Sunderland into the relegation scrap.

Along with rivals Newcastle and Villa, Di Canio's side are on 37 points with three games remaining, five points clear of Wigan who have a game in hand.

"It was a big wake-up call," Larsson said of the defeat.

"We have to look at ourselves and realise it's not job done, we've got to go and do it on Monday [against Stoke].

"Maybe a false sense of security crept in, it's not an excuse because it shouldn't happen.

"We know for sure we have it in our locker [to get out of trouble], I can't see any problem with us coming out of the blocks and being 100% ready for the game.

"But that doesn't guarantee anything, I can't sit here and guarantee we'll win the game but we'll do whatever we can to put the embarrassment behind us."