Sunderland signed Lamine Kone from French club Lorient 1 in January 2016 and during the last two seasons with them, he saw the club relegated twice.

In his first six months, the Black Cats dropped from the Premier League and were played in the Championship last term, where they finished at the bottom of the table, resulting in relegation to the second division of English football.

The central defender, who is on a season-long loan deal at Strasbourg, gave a lengthy interview to France Football, in which he admitted that despite being motivated, the mood around the team was not good during the previous campaign.

“After going down to the Championship, it was very tense, even though we deserved to be relegated. At the level of the fans and the city, it is a legendary club which remained some time in the Premier League. It has a history,” Kone said.

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“The relegation to League One, that was too much. The fans turned their backs on us. I understand them. Maybe the leaders would also have made better choices …

“The responsibility is shared between the players and officials. In terms of morale, even if I continued to be motivated to train, it was not the best.”

Sunderland will be hopeful of returning to the Championship at the first attempt.