GUS Poyet has hailed the impact new signing Marcos Alonso has had at the club, on and off the pitch, in a such a short space of time.
And the Sunderland boss says he hopes that other new faces set to arrive in January can have just as positive an impact.
Former Bolton left-back Alonso joined Sunderland on season-long loan from Fiorentina when the transfer window opened at the start of the year and made his debut with an impressive display in the 2-1 win over Manchester United midweek.
Poyet said: “I was pleased with him and delighted that he got the Man-of-the-Match award from one of the sponsors.
“I was pleased because when you come to a new club, your first game is so important, it is important that you make a good impact and that’s what he did.
“Was he man-of-the-match? I don’t know. I’ve been joking with him that he cost me a few quid!
“The great thing about Marcos is that he has the ability to play with elegance and he was also up against a tough, tough player in Antonio Valencia.
“It’s good for him though that he was recognised for his effort and that he played in a winning display against one of the best sides around.
“It was a great way for him to start here and he’s now in a great frame of mind.
“Marcos has been full of smiles in training and you can see how excited he is.”
Poyet says the 23-year-old’s excitement and enthusiasm has also rubbed off on the new signing’s team-mates.
He said: “You can tell that the rest of the squad are enjoying having him around and having him next to them in the side.
“It has helped refresh things a bit and it has also put down a challenge to Andrea Dossena too, which is important.
“The way Andrea has been playing in training has been unbelievable.
“He was training well as it was, but he has obviously thought ‘my god I need another gear here’ and that’s great, that’s the sort of competition you want.
“And hopefully any other players we bring in will have the same effect – it is all about lifting the squad physically and mentally for the remainder of the season.”