Jermain Defoe has urged his Sunderland team-mates to keep their foot on the gas in order to develop a winning mentality during pre-season.
The Black Cats coasted past Hartlepool United as the 33-year-old scored twice at Victoria Park, with Tunisia international Wahbi Khazri also on the scoresheet after Defoe’s initial effort clattered the post.
A trip to Rotherham United is next on the agenda with Sunderland facing the Millers on Saturday, and speaking to safc.com the striker hailed the team’s progress before urging more of the same.
“It was a good work out for the boys,” said Defoe. “The first game is always about blowing away the cobwebs and trying to get some match fitness, but the lads already looked fit and we’ve worked really hard, especially in Austria, and I thought that was evident.
“Our energy, compared to how we looked in our first pre-season game last year, was on another level, and when we got the opportunities to show our quality in and around the box we did that.”
He continued: “There is no better feeling than seeing the ball hit the back of the net – it doesn’t matter whether it is in the Premier League or a pre-season friendly – so it was nice to score a couple of goals.
“I want to score in every game I play because that is the kind of form I want to take into the season.
“Confidence is a big part of football and if you can have a good pre-season it helps, and the same can be said about winning games so we have to do that again when we face Rotherham on Saturday.
“A winning mentality and winning momentum is key heading into the first game of the season.”