Paddy McNair was the hero after his brace helped Sunderland beat QPR 2-1 to progress into the fourth round of the EFL Cup last night.
And the midfielder has now called on his team-mates to take the morale-boosting win into this weekend’s crunch Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at the Stadium of Light.
With Sunderland trailing after Sandro’s strike for the hosts on the hour mark, McNair – who scored an own goal on the opening day at Manchester City – scored twice inside ten minutes at Loftus Road last night to turn the game around.
His first strike in the 70th minute was his first professional goal.
And the delighted Northern Ireland international was left beaming after helping Sunderland progress into the next round of the competition – an away tie at Southampton next month.
“They are my first career goals, I am delighted,” said McNair.
“Hopefully now we can build on this win and get some momentum going into Saturday and the important home games coming up.
“A lot of people have said I am a good finisher so I was just pleased to get the ball in the right end!
“I have been a bit unlucky, I have not really had a pre-season this summer, so it was just about getting my fitness up.
“I have been doing a lot of extra work on my fitness and that showed against QPR.”
Championship outfit QPR proved a tough opposition and it was far from straightforward for David Moyes and his side.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, it is a tight pitch, the fans are on top of you. but we were confident we were going to win the game,” added McNair.
“I think it is coming together, especially second half we moved the ball around really well.
“It was just what we needed to take into the next two games, which are very important.
“John O’Shea is a big help, he is always talking. I can learn from him. He is a great voice behind us all keeping us organised.”
Sunderland have been drawn away to Premier League rivals Southampton in the fourth round of the EFL Cup – and McNair isn’t daunted by the long trip south.
Sunderland drew 1-1 with the Saints in August and the former Manchester United trainee believes the Cats can go there with confidence.
He added: “We fly these days so it is not too bad!”
When asked if it was a winnable game, McNair added: “Of course. I don’t think it matters who we got.
“You won’t go through the cup and not face a good team. We will look forward to the game.”