Sunderland's star striker Jermain Defoe has praised the influence of the Black Cats' newest signings on David Moyes' side.
The Black Cats were in desperate need of recruits in the January transfer window, with Moyes adding Bryan Oviedo, Joleon Lescott and Darron Gibson to the squad.
Oviedo and Lescott had impressive debuts in the crucial 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace, and Defoe praised their efforts and influence on the side when asked about what has changed recently.
“Maybe the signings that have come in," Defoe told the Sunderland Echo. "Players that the manager knows from before, lift everyone else."
He continued: “It’s a funny one you bring competition into the club and (for) the players that are here, you want to impress the new players."
“It’s something that we wanted," the veteran striker said. "The team spirit is always the most important thing."
“In tough times you’ve got to stick together," Defoe added. "If you stick together as a group, it doesn’t really matter what’s going on – you win together, you lose together."
One to be proud of
It was an excellent performance from the Black Cats at Selhurst Park, with goals from Lamine Kone, Didier Ndong and a brace from Defoe.
It was a collection of excellent finishes from the side, and Defoe praised the strikes of both Kone and NDong.
“It [the first-half] was difficult because of, especially in the Premier League, the intensity of the first 10-15 minutes," he said.
“The lads were a little bit tense because you don’t want to concede," the 34-year-old admitted. "You know how difficult it can be."
“You always want to get that first goal," stressed the striker. "Credit to Lamine because, if you look at that finish, it’s a striker’s finish."
Defoe said: “Didier’s goal, that’s a great goal. Yeah, yeah [I’d have been proud of that myself].”
Sunderland AFC will take on Southampton at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, February 11 with kick-off at 3pm GMT.