Chris Coleman reacts as Sunderland demolish play-off hopefuls Derby County

Delighted Chris Coleman praised his Sunderland side's steel and courage after a 'huge' win over Derby County to boost survival hopes.

Saturday, 31st March 2018, 9:05 am
Updated Saturday, 31st March 2018, 9:10 am
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman celebrates victory.

Sunderland are now three points from safety after the 4-1 thrashing of Gary Rowett’s Rams, denting their promotion hopes in the process.

This was a stunning win for Sunderland, who had gone into the game on the back of 10 games without a win and seemingly heading for League One.

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman celebrates victory.

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They have given themselves fresh hope of survival with a big three points in front of the TV cameras.

Sunderland were six points adrift before kick-off at Pride Park Stadium after Barnsley’s draw with Bristol City.

But the Black Cats produced a superb display, with goals from George Honeyman, Ashley Fletcher’s first for the club, an Aiden McGeady penalty and a close range finish from skipper John O’Shea sealing the win.

Coleman said: "A classic Good Friday - it was a superb performance.

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman celebrates victory.

"The position we are in, the games were on before us and we were looking at those results and at one point there was an eight point gap when Barnsley were winning.

"That wasn’t good for us before we’d even kicked a ball!

"The gap is now down to three and the performance was very important because of where we have been the last ten games.

"We haven’t been good enough, this performance was huge and I was delighted with it.

"If you look at our team, the spine has to be right and it was against Derby, throughout the team.

"The two centre halves were magnificent, heading it and kicking it - nothing wrong with that!

"Sheasy didn’t stop talking and organising, Catts the same in front. The energy in front of them, McNair, Gooch, Honeyman, it was a great balance.

"All of them, McGeady, they all played a huge part."

Sunderland were backed by close to 2,000 supporters on a miserable night in the Midlands.

Coleman, his entire backroom staff and the players thanked the supporters at the end for their non-stop support throughout.

Coleman added: "It was a horrible night weather wise. The fans have come all this way and they do it all the time. A lot of the time we don’t get a good result.

"That is what they want to see. We won’t do it without them. If we can get them excited and bounce off each other we have a chance.

"We have been written off, I know that. It was six points, could have been eight, now it’s down to three.

"There is an opportunity there but only if we take it. We will only do it and make a fight if we keep the fans onside. We do that by playing the way we did against Derby.

"Back to back wins is the next challenge. I’m not putting extra pressure on, we can all see it.

"It is amazing what a bit of steel and courage can do, I have seen it so many times. You need sprinkling of talent too, a bit of attitude.

"If we get that right, maybe Monday will be a good day for us."

Sunderland have seven games left with Sheffield Wednesday the visitors to the Stadium of Light on Easter Monday.

Coleman, when asked whether he had a points target in mind, added: "In my head, no. Our target is to get it from three points to zero points and then we see where we are."