Wise Men Say: A magnificent occasion to savour for all Sunderland fans

Sunderland fans celebrate Saturday's victory over Chelsea. Picture by Frank Reid
Sunderland fans celebrate Saturday's victory over Chelsea. Picture by Frank Reid
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That happened. That actually happened!

Not only did we win but both Newcastle and Norwich dropped points.

The task is now simple – win one or draw both our last two games and we stay up.

After a win over Chelsea where the lads showed undying commitment, incredible spirit and, most importantly, Premier League level quality, it’s now all up to us.

It’s hard to single out individuals in such a magnificent team performance.

Our three goals coming from Khazri, Borini and Defoe, was very pleasing, as each of our front three got on the scoresheet.

Great individual technique from Khazri fired us back into the game, while clever positioning and ruthless finishing saw Borini and Defoe turn the game around.

The goals were further examples of the progress that we’ve made since January and served as evidence as to why we don’t deserve to be relegated.

In fairness, Jermain Defoe has been coming up with moments like that for us for much longer than the turn of the year. Add the winner against Chelsea to the growing list of hugely important goals he’s scored for us in only a season and a half on Wearside.

It says everything about him that he’s only been here for a short space of time, but there’ll be few players I will remember as fondly as Defoe.

It wasn’t just up front where we excelled, though.

Continuing to regain confidence after Sam Allardyce put his faith in him, Vito Mannone pulled off two superb saves that prevented Chelsea from going 3-1 up.

On both occasions, Mannone was quick to get off his line and close down the avenues for Diego Costa, who was twice thwarted from adding his second of the afternoon.

The second save, especially, was a great example of goalkeeping as he spotted the danger developing

quickly and made sure Costa couldn’t kill the game off.

Those two saves are as important as any goal because, without them, we wouldn’t have had the platform for our quickfire turnaround.

Another player deserving of a mention was Yann M’Vila, who was the best midfielder on the pitch.

M’Vila controlled our play through the middle by tackling well and rarely giving the ball away. There may have been criticisms about his recent form, but Saturday’s display reminded us all why signing him in the summer has to be a top priority.

As well as the players and management, the supporters should take some praise after a cauldron of noise proved to be the 12th man.

No clappers or anything artificial about it either, just pure emotion pouring out of every corner of the Stadium of Light. Even the East Stand, where I sit, was bouncing!

After being sucker-punched by Nemanja Matic’s goal to put Chelsea 2-1 up on the stroke of half-time, the supporters didn’t allow it to bog them down.

It was encouragement that manifested itself into a constant roar and the Borini/Defoe double nearly took the roof off.

Aside from derbies, I don’t think the Stadium of Light has seen at atmosphere like that for a long time.

To use a cliché – It was absolute scenes. Hopefully we’ll see some more of that on Wednesday as we complete the job.

l The Wise Men Say podcast team have a live show at Port of Call tonight, with Michael Proctor, Julio Arca and BBC Newcastle commentator Nick Barnes taking part.

Doors open at 7pm, with tickets £5.

Listen to the Wise Men Say podcasts on wisemensay.co.uk