SUNDERLAND hero Fabio Borini believes his derby-day ecstasy was reward for his determination to make his mark in red and white.
On-loan Liverpool striker Borini rifled home a stunning winner for the Black Cats in yesterday’s success over Newcastle, to secure back-to-back wins over the Magpies for the first time since 1966-67.
The Italian international had been limited to less than two hours of Premier League football with Sunderland since arriving from Anfield on transfer deadline day.
But Borini has been desperate to catch the eye of new head coach Gus Poyet on the training field and has been battling to make a success of his loan stint.
“I’ve always been fighting, even at Liverpool last season when I was injured, I never gave up,” said Borini.
“That is why the goal means so much to me.
“I came here to play and I’ve not played a lot yet, but every day in training I’ve worked hard and that’s the reward.
“It’s not only about the goal, it’s about the work I do every day in training which is the most important thing.
“The game is just a reflection of the training sessions.
“I still need to show the manager what I’m capable of in training.”
Substitute Borini rifled Jozy Altidore’s lay-off into the top corner with six minutes remaining to prompt wild celebrations at the Stadium of Light, as Sunderland moved off the Premier League basement with a first victory of the campaign.
“I remember everything about it, even the fans coming on and what clothes they were wearing!” said the 22-year-old.
“It wasn’t a great build-up because we were just trying to get it up the pitch because we were suffering.
“But I sniffed that I could get something.
“Obviously as a striker, when you’re around the box you can sense things and I took a touch and just shot in the top corner.
“When I saw the keeper couldn’t reach it, I just went mad next to the corner flag.
“It was a great feeling. I got a few punches in the head, but that’s okay!”
Borini believes that Sunderland’s reaction after Newcastle drew level was just as important as his winning strike though.
Sunderland had conceded 20 goals in the eight league games prior to yesterday’s clash with the Magpies, but Poyet’s side didn’t allow their heads to drop when Mathieu Debuchy equalised just before the hour mark.
“My feeling has been when we’ve conceded goals, we’ve been overtaken by our fears,” added Borini.
“That didn’t happen yesterday and we kept on going which was the main thing, especially in a derby.
“Sometimes, it’s impossible not to concede, but you just have to keep playing.”