GUS Poyet said that the bit which pleased him most about yesterday’s derby was the bit where Sunderland did not capitulate after conceding!
The previous week, Poyet had watched Sunderland implode after Phil Bardsley’s own goal in the 57th minute – the Black Cats conceding twice more in the half-dozen minutes that followed.
That embarrassment underlined the Wearsiders’ wafer-thin confidence when shipping a goal.
And every Sunderland fan was entitled to fear the worst when Mathieu Debuchy cancelled out Steven Fletcher’s early goal in the 57th minute.
But Sunderland dug in with real determination to give their season and their fans the perfect lift.
“The most important 20-25 minutes for me in the whole game were those that followed after we conceded an equaliser,” said Poyet.
“It meant so much, how we did not crumble after conceding.
“No one will remember those minutes. People will think about how we started the game and Steven Fletcher’s early goal.
“They will talk about how much pressure we put on Newcastle at times. They will of course talk about Fabio Borini’s winner.
“But to me, as a manager, those 25 minutes during the time I didn’t make changes, seeing how the players reacted, how they understood what we needed to do – to me that was the most important phase of the game.”
The character Sunderland showed after conceding provided the foundation for Borini’s spectacular late winner.
And that goal, that win, took a huge amount of pressure off the Stadium of Light, as Poyet was only too quick to admit.
“At least we won a football game,” he sighed, with a broad smile across his face.
“I know sometimes people say that it is difficult to win at this level and I could not agree more – it is very difficult to win a game in the Premier League
“I’ve not slept great the last few nights because the moment you wake up your mind is racing and you’re thinking of what you might say to the players or do with them.
“But this moment? This moment is worth all of that.”