Yedlin fresh, focused as Sunderland crank up survival bid

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DeAndre Yedlin has had a tough start to life in the Premier League, but the U.S. national team youngster appears to be hitting his best stretch to date.

Yedlin, 22, has spent this season on loan at struggling Sunderland from Tottenham Hotspur but has found regular minutes hard to come by.

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Recently, though, the Seattle Sounders product came on in the 2-2 draw away at Liverpool and started and played the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 home win over Manchester United after going nearly a month without a first team appearance.

Speaking to the club website, Yedlin’s confidence is high and the speedy right back is happy to have been contributing in an upturn in Sunderland’s results with Sam Allardyce‘s side just one point from safety with 12 games to go.

“It was great. The most important thing is to help the side pick up some points,” Yedlin said. “Obviously we are still in the relegation zone so any points we get are big points. It was great to get back into the side and anything I can do to help the team I’m willing to do. It is obviously even better when I’m starting.”

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Following the win over United, Yedlin and his teammates flew to Dubai for a warm weather training camp as the FA Cup break left them with two weeks off.

Was that beneficial for Yedlin? Absolutely.

“Individually, just clearing your mind because sometimes it can be a bit much,” Yedlin said. “Then to get ready for the last stretch. Collectively you gain camaraderie as a team. You are always together and get that chemistry you need. That will be heavily needed during the last stretch of the season.”

This Saturday the Black Cats face West Ham United (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) at Upton Park as Allardyce returns to east London for the first time since leaving as boss last summer.

It’s sure to be a fiery encounter on and off the pitch and Yedlin believes that fighting spirit will help them through the crucial last few months of the season as they battle against the dreaded drop.

“It’s a game where we need the points and we can’t go into it too tentatively,” Yedlin explained “We’ve got to keep the momentum going and really grind. We have to fight for every single minute… There are no easy games in this league. Every minute is important. Every second is important. We have to stay focused and sharp. We learned we can do it and we need to get a winning mentality. That game [win over Manchester United] has definitely helped us with that. We need to carry that momentum into the last part of the season.”