SEBASTIAN Coates says he had no time to think after being thrust into the Tyne-Wear derby at the last minute.
On-loan Liverpool centre-half Coates produced by far his most assured display in a Sunderland shirt in yesterday’s 1-0 victory at St James’s Park, despite receiving just 15 minutes notice that he was starting the game.
Full-back Anthony Reveillere was forced to pull out in the warm-up through injury and, with no other defenders available, head coach Gus Poyet opted to put fellow Uruguayan Coates in the side and move skipper John O’Shea from central defence to left-back.
That late decision proved inspired, with Coates helping Sunderland to a clean sheet after a nervy opening 10 minutes.
Coates told the Echo: “You don’t have time to think about anything.
“You just have to concentrate on the game and do the best you can.
“For me, I want to play and I want to improve, day by day.
“I’ve waited for my opportunity and to do the best I can.
“For sure, that’s my best game for Sunderland so far, but I think it was a great game for the team.
“It was a great experience.”
* Don’t miss today’s derby special souvenir Sunderland Echo – celebrating the Black Cats’ four-in-a-row triumph