SUNDERLAND head coach Gus Poyet was beaming from ear to ear as he entered the Press room at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
He had enjoyed his return to the club which remains so dear to his heart, and not just because he had seen so many old friends, but because his team had executed near perfectly the game plan he had set out.
Poyet’s reward for that was an end to rival manager Jose Mourinho’s seemingly endless unbeaten league run at Stamford Bridge which stretched back a staggering 77 games.
“That is what we are all about,” Poyet told the world’s media as he reviewed his team’s performance after the 2-1 success.
“We have a way we want to play – a style – and it’s all about believing.
“I’m so proud of everyone who played.
“We needed a fight we needed to defend, we needed to stay in the game and make it difficult for them and we needed to make and take a chance or two.
“I think, overall, for a team bottom of the league, it was a decent performance!”
The win over Chelsea, following on from the 2-2 draw against Manchester City – results which have all but knocked both those teams out of the title race – has helped transform Sunderland’s situation at the bottom of the table.
They had started the week cast adrift at the bottom – seven points from safety – and facing colossally difficult away games against the two Blues.
But they ended it by taking four points from six.
And if they beat Cardiff City this coming Sunday they could even bounce out of the relegation zone.
“It’s incredible, I know,” accepted Poyet, with a smile.
“We got a point against Manchester City when it should have been three and three at Chelsea which gives us a great opportunity to stay up.
“And I have to say if we don’t stay up now, it would be a shame.”
Poyet. who was a Chelsea player from 1997-2001, enjoyed some fantastic days at Stamford Bridge, but his appearance there as Sunderland manager will have been right up there with the very best of them.
“It’s a special win for us and for me, too, as a former Chelsea player,” he said.
“I said we needed a miracle to stay up, we needed something special, and maybe this is it?
“To beat Mourinho’s team at home is something special.”