Kevin Phillips believes complacency could be a concern for Sunderland in their quest for promotion this season.
The Black Cats have enjoyed a largely positive start to the League One campaign, and sit level on points with Wigan at the top of the table.
Lee Johnson’s side have yielded seven wins from their opening 10 games, and they embarked on a run of five wins from six before the defeat to Portsmouth at the weekend.
Pompey beat Sunderland 4-0 at the weekend, bringing Sunderland somewhat back down to earth with an international break now upon us.
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Speaking to Football Insider, Kevin Phillips reflected on the start to the season, and highlighted complacency as a potential hurdle for the Black Cats to overcome.
He said: “Complacency is Sunderland’s biggest worry but it is the same for any club challenging near the top of the table.
“They have gone into a season with great expectation. They have the best squad and the biggest budget so most people believe they should be going up. You have got to take that into consideration.
“Sunderland have been there and seen it now. They cannot get complacent.
“The coaching staff are trying to keep everyone’s feet on the ground. The result against Portsmouth wasn’t great but there is a long, long way to go.
“We all know the history of Sunderland over the last few years. Hopefully they can go one further this year. They just have to keep putting points on the board.
“Complacency is a massive, massive worry but it’s good to see Lee Johnson is addressing it so early in the season.”
We have seen Johnson start really well at Bristol City in previous years, but the Robins tended to tail off before their season ended on a whimper and fizzled out.
Sunderland have also been guilty of starting strong in League One before falling away, and they will be looking to overcome that this season.
It’s a tough one, as Sunderland will be desperate to escape League One this term.