The huge relegation battle with Aston Villa was the sort of fixture that Sunderland have so often messed up in the past, but this time they got the job done, even though it wasn’t pretty.
A game between the Premier League’s bottom two was never going to be a classic and that definitely proved to be the case, but the three points were absolutely priceless.
It not only prevented us being cut adrift, but stopped the morale and belief of both players and fans hitting rock bottom.
Suddenly there’s light at the end of the tunnel, that only a win against Villa could bring, and with the next Premier League game not until the middle of next week, it buys Sam Allardyce some time as he tries to bring in new recruits during the transfer window.
I’ve played in plenty of relegation scraps where you know only one thing matters; winning.
The mental pressure can be massive, so that’s why I was pleased the Sunderland players came through it, especially when Villa equalised.
Sunderland regrouped after that goal and thanks to Jermain Defoe’s clinical finishing, found a way to win.
Saying that, Villa were the perfect opponents for Sunderland. You could see why they are the Premier League’s bottom team – lacking form, ability and confidence.
Villa now need a miracle of their own if they are to survive this season.
Apart from Defoe, I thought the other player who was vital to our win was John O’Shea.
I was relieved when he passed his fitness test before the game, as we were running out of centre-backs due to injury, so O’Shea’s return alongside his fellow veteran Wes Brown meant their experience got us through the game defensively.
It was great to see fans leaving the stadium happy, singing and in high spirits.
They knew fine well that they hadn’t seen a great game, but on Saturday, the win was all that mattered.