MIRACLE man Gus Poyet bounded into the Manchester United Press room on Saturday evening all beaming smile and broad grins.
Minutes earlier, as referee Howard Webb blew the whistle on a memorable Sunderland victory, the Uruguayan had been unable to suppress an un-coordinated jig of joy down the touchline.
Both responses were perfectly understandable in the wake of the Wearsiders’ first win at Old Trafford in decades.
More importantly, it was the result which relegated two of the Black Cats’ rivals – Cardiff and Fulham – and all but relegated third-bottom Norwich, who now need to win their last game against Arsenal and hope Sunderland lose their two home games, to West Brom and Swansea.
All the odds are stacked against the Canaries, who also have a much poorer goal difference than Sunderland.
And Poyet’s demeanour in his Press post-match illustrated the obvious – that he knew the job was all but done on the back of an astonishing revival of fortunes for Sunderland.
Just three weeks previously, his side had been four points behind second-bottom Cardiff City and seven points from safety.
Since then, Sunderland have thumped Cardiff 4-0 and taken seven points from nine at the homes of the teams which occupied the top three places in the table last season.
The 10 points taken from the last 12 have completed one of the most amazing turnarounds the Premier League has ever seen.
Poyet admitted: “I said after the big defeat at Spurs last month that we needed a miracle, and what has happened is close to that.
“What we have done in the last four games is unique, incredible.
“A ‘miracle’ was the word I used a few weeks ago, and apparently every now and again it happens.”
While Poyet accepted that a miracle was need after the 5-1 defeat at Spurs, their plight worsened further with a luckless defeat to Everton in the following game.
Poyet reflected: “We knew after losing to Everton that realistically we needed to win four of our last six games.
“We thought we might win all three of our home games, but we also knew we would need a special result in our away games and that would be difficult.
“Well, we managed to get three wins and a draw before our last two games at home, having gone away to Man City, Chelsea and Man United and got a result each time.
“No-one could have predicted that.
“We needed something amazing to happen for us and it’s amazing that we got it.
“Now we are so close and, in front of our fans this week, I want us to finish the job.”