Sunderland star Johnson: Reading win was key

Adam Johnson takes on Manchester City's  Pablo Zabaleta
Adam Johnson takes on Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta
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ADAM Johnson believes Sunderland’s victory over Reading, rather than Southampton, provided the foundations for Boxing Day’s triumph against Manchester City.

Success against the reigning Premier League champions handed Sunderland back-to-back top flight victories for the first time since March after Martin O’Neill’s secured a crucial three points against Southampton last weekend.

The win at St Mary’s, which gave Sunderland breathing space with the relegation zone, had clearly given the Black Cats a major confidence boost ahead of the City clash.

But England winger Johnson says the victory over basement boys Reading two-and-a-half weeks ago was the start of Sunderland’s resurgence, even though they lost to league leaders Manchester United four days later.

Johnson said: “I think the win over Reading here was a big game as well as Southampton. That was the kick-start for us.

“I know we went to Old Trafford a few days later and we didn’t play our best, but we were still a threat.

“The win at Southampton lifted us again.

“Wednesday showed the confidence is coming back.”

Sunderland face a second successive outing against a top four side tomorrow, with Spurs the visitors to the Stadium of Light.

Andre Villas-Boas’ side moved back into the Champions League places on Boxing Day after romping to a 4-0 victory at Aston Villa.

But Johnson, who interested Spurs before his summer switch to the Stadium of Light, says that with the confidence gleaned from victory over City, Sunderland head into tomorrow’s encounter in buoyant mood.

“City don’t lose games very often and we’re obviously delighted to beat the champions. It’s a massive win for us,” said the 25-year-old.

“It’s important we look up now.

“With the squad we have and the team we have, we shouldn’t be looking down.

“We’re at home again tomorrow with a big crowd behind us and we can put pressure on them and create chances, like we can do against anyone with the players we have.”