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Okore: First goal at Sunderland is key

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Okore: First goal at Sunderland is key

Jores Okore reckons scoring the first goal is key ahead of Saturday's trip to Sunderland.

The claret and blues picked up 1-1 draws against Newcastle and West Ham despite going a goal down in two of their three festive fixtures to date and are looking for a quick response to Monday's defeat at Norwich.

Okore believes Villa can build on some of their recent showings providing they are more clinical in front of goal.

Rémi Garde's men missed a number of early chances in the 2-0 defeat at Carrow Road and the Dane, who sat out of Monday's match with a knee problem, wants his side to draw first blood on Wearside.

He said: "When we concede the first goal, I think it deflates the team a little bit.

"If we score the first goal it's going to be a different game for us. That's what we need.

"We've shown a little bit of what we can do - I think if we continue believing in ourselves we can take it all the way.

"I'd say we showed a little bit of what we've got in our two recent draws.

"We also had chances at Norwich and we need to be confident and to finish the job, especially when we have chances to score the first goal."

Having missed the early months of the 2015/16 campaign following summer knee surgery, Okore is making up for lost time and has impressed since returning to the team in last month's 1-1 draw at Southampton.

He has now been at the club since June 2013 and is determined to start 2016 on a high.

He added: "The situation we're in is a challenge, it's something you don't want to be in but when you're in it you need to look at it in a positive way.

"Now we need to show that we can beat teams and take control of our own destiny and show that we have quality players.

"It's a challenge we should relish, that's why we play football.

"We need to show that we don't want to be at the bottom and show that we can dig ourselves out of it.

"For us every game is like a final. We need to try and win every game from now on until the end of the season.

"It doesn't matter if it's against Sunderland, Man City or Man Utd - we need to be sharp.

"We need to come back from the Stadium of Light with a win."

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By @AVFCOfficial 1st January 2016