GUS Poyet admitted that his third home win for Sunderland was probably his best – given the sheer quality of the opposition.
The Black Cats’ boss confessed to some trepidation in the build-up to the game with his side becalmed in the relegation zone and City in red-hot form knocking seven past Norwich City the previous weekend and then five past CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in midweek.
But he was beaming after a breathless victory for the Black Cats, enthusing: “I don’t know how my heart is – I don’t want to check it in case there is too much damage – but I am looking forward to enjoying the victory.
“It’s probably the biggest win of my managerial career.
“I know that for the fans, and for the club, it is probably a bigger game for Sunderland to beat their local rivals in the derby – that’s a game you feel you have to win.
“But in terms of the quality of the opposition, the class of their players in attack, midfield and defence, I don’t think I’ve had a better result than beating this Manchester City side.”
Poyet would gladly have settled for a point before a ball was kicked in this fixture, knowing that anything that could be gained from such an in-form side had to be counted as a bonus.
“Against City, I have to say that the most important thing was the result,” he agreed. “The performance was secondary. It was all about getting something out of the game.
“But, in the end, we got both – a great result and a great performance.”
Poyet believes that the win – his third on the bounce for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light – has laid the foundations for the side to produce more winning results on home soil and begin the long, hard climb away from the basement.
“We need to keep going onwards from this win,” he said.
“I can tell you that the feeling now when we are playing at home is going to be completely different.
“To win three games in a row at home – two in the Premier League, one in the cup – it gives you strength.
“That is the key – that feeling of confidence and belief.”