SUNDERLAND’S players have been given no chance to rest on their laurels after the Wear-Tyne derby.
The Black Cats squad were immediately back in for training at the Academy of Light yesterday morning after Sunday’s victory over Newcastle United, with Dick Advocaat’s men still firmly entrenched in the relegation dogfight.
The season hasn’t finished. There’s massive games coming upJermain Defoe
While only a second Premier League win of 2015 provided a timely boost in the battle against the drop, Sunderland remain only three points clear of the bottom three – a margin which could be further reduced if QPR win at fellow strugglers Aston Villa tonight.
Derby hero Jermain Defoe says focus has to immediately shift to Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace, as Sunderland target back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time this season.
Defoe said: “We needed the three points, it was a massive game for us.
“Hopefully, now we can regroup and kick on.
“Obviously you win a game like that, the lads and fans will enjoy it.
“But the season hasn’t finished. There’s massive games coming up.
“It’s important we concentrate on the next game and win that.”
Tellingly, head coach Advocaat’s attitude both before and after the derby was that the game had to merely be treated as a golden opportunity to register three points.
And Defoe believes that philosophy paid dividends for Sunderland, who acclimatised to the derby cauldron far better than a wretched Newcastle outfit.
“It was important to treat it like any other game, not get wrapped up in the hype and make sure we got the three points,” added Defoe.
“After that, you can reflect and really enjoy it.
“I hope now that we can kick on because every game’s important.
“Everyone’s confident. Even when we had to pass it, we did that.
“Credit to the boys and the manager, who has put in a lot of work in training on how we’re going to play.
“Everything just seemed to click and we deserved it.”