Rowell Report: Sunderland swerve sticky situation with Toffees

Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
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WE’VE ALL heard the phrase “After the Lord Mayor’s show” and after a fabulous derby victory the previous week there was a real danger that Sunderland’s standards might have slipped for the Everton game.

It was a testimony to all involved – Sunderland’s coaching staff and players – that they didn’t.

And in the end, Sunderland actually produced as fine a victory as we have seen from them all season.

The Newcastle win will always hold far more importance in the minds of supporters but I thought Saturday’s win against Everton was every bit as good a performance because it was against a better team; one with European aspirations and it also brought us that rare pleasure of back-to-back victories.

It feels great being a Sunderland fan at the moment and long may this euphoria and pride in our team continue.

Paolo Di Canio has breathed new life into the club and continues to write his own script.

He’s a walking headline at the moment, a journalist’s dream and his after-match Press conferences are fascinating to listen to.

Just like previously against Newcastle, the sheer effort he is getting out of the players is fantastic and their work rate and desire has thrilled our fans.

You can feel the energy around the place now and the team and fans are feeding off each other and this produced a great result against a quality team which was thoroughly deserved.

One of the highlights of the game for me was when Seb Larsson’s bizarre back-pass gave Everton a free-kick inside our own box which the team charged down three times as the crowd roared their approval, getting louder and louder with each block.

That was when I knew we were destined to win the game, as the players and fans just refused to allow Everton to score.

So, all in all, a great day, the sort of match that makes us love our club and the scenes of pure joy and pride at the end were very emotional.

The final whistle wasn’t the end of the story either as Di Canio gave a bear hug or a friendly slap to his players before taking the applause from the fans themselves in the middle of the pitch. It was incredible, feel-good stuff.

To read the rest of the Rowell Report, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.