David Moyes cracked the whip with double training sessions for his Sunderland squad ahead of the Bournemouth win in a bid to turn the season around.
Moyes left no stone unturned at the Academy of Light in the build-up to the club’s first Premier League win of the season on Saturday.
The 53-year-old Scot left his squad in no doubt that they had to come back to Wearside with three points from the Vitality Stadium.
And they did just that, with Victor Anichebe and Jermain Defoe scoring the goals in the 2-1 victory to end a run of 10 games without a win.
Anichebe lifted the lid on the intense preparations, with the players responding to the manager’s tough approach.
“On Monday, after the Arsenal game, he came in and told us straight,” said Anichebe.
“It was more of the old manager, he told us straight: ‘Saturday is a must-win game’ and he had been onto us like crazy.
“It hasn’t been nice at times, but he has been on and training has been hard. Everyone has been together.
“He said you have to win Saturday. No two ways about it. We had some of the boys back from injury and that is the mentality we had.
“Training has been super hard. We had double sessions – something footballers complain about!
“But we have had to do it.
“There has been no complaining. We have to get out of the position we are in.
“Hopefully this is the start.
“I really enjoyed the game, the fans were amazing.
“If they can continue supporting us then we will definitely get out of it.”
Anichebe and Moyes go way back, with the Sunderland boss bringing the striker through the ranks when the pair were at Everton together.
The approach to training last week may have been tough, but there was some light relief with a team bowling trip.
And Anichebe says the spirit has always been strong at the club.
He added: “I always tell people that the spirit is still here. We still believe. Results haven’t been great, but I always tell them that the spirit is here.
“We went out together for a bonding session, we went bowling.
“That togetherness is there. You could see how much it meant to us.
“Even when we went down to 10 men.
“We still fought to the end. The fans were our 11th man. They pulled us through until the end. We need that and hopefully we can climb the table.
“We have to keep it going.”