Sunderland's Lorik Cana targets tophalf Premier League finish
26 August 2009 10:01
The Albanian has played a key role in making sure that new manager Steve Bruce's side have started the new season brightly and he is convinced that Sunderland will finish the campaign in the top half of the league following two successive relegation skirmishes.
The early signs certainly vindicate Cana's decision to swap Marseilles for Sunderland this summer, after signing a four-year deal that concluded a £5 million transfer, and he is quickly winning admirers with tenacious midfield displays alongside Lee Cattermole.
"The weather is not exactly the same here as it is in the south of France but that is not the most important thing," said the former Marseilles skipper, who speaks fluent English.
"The more important thing is to feel well and play as well as you can. It's a good atmosphere here. It's a good country to show your passion and that is why I chose Sunderland for my career.
"I am typical midfielder. I am trying to be a leader in the area and I always try to give 300 per cent. I have a strong game and that's why I feel England is good for me because everyone plays strongly and fast and I have this sort of game.
"I had a choice to make because I had played for many years in France and I had to choose where I wanted to continue my career and Sunderland was very interesting so it happened very quickly.
"My first impression was that it is fantastic - fantastic stadium, fantastic training camp and fantastic team-mates and coach."
The 26-year-old and his colleagues will look to maintain their promising start to the season at Stoke on Saturday, having begun the campaign with two wins out of three in the league as well as a convincing 4-1 Carling Cup victory over Norwich.
Cana, who was once linked with moves to Arsenal and Everton, said: "I know a little bit about last year being difficult for the club. It is difficult to find something that can happen immediately with results but we will try to give everything we have to give people the experience.
"I know the Champions League and I have played many times against English clubs such as Chelsea and four times against Liverpool and I know the level of British clubs and I think with our new manager and new players we are going to try to be in the top 10 this year.
"It is difficult to have a goal but why not to finish in the top 10 and have a good cup run. It is very exciting for me to see a new league and a new country and Sunderland is a good place to begin in England.
"It is the best league in the world. You play ever week with fantastic stadiums, clubs and teams and you can see in the Champions League where English sides do so well, but I have to change a little after all my years with Paris St Germain and Marseilles."