Quick Kicks: Thoughts And Reaction To Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City

Michael Regan

The obvious reaction is "yeeeeeeessssssssss get the f--k in" but we're going to attempt to be more articulate.

What The Gaffer Said

There's plenty to say about the players.

If you think about a few weeks ago when we were not able to play a football game without conceding, today we have a clean sheet against a team that scored seven and five [last week].

We are strong at home, we are winning games at home now, it's difficult for the opposition to come here - I know we feel protected by the fans.

We know that we have an extra man and he made us play in a different way.

It's about winning, if we win everything goes together and goes hand in hand - I'm very proud of the players.

Two goals in two games for Phil [Bardsley] - maybe I should play him up-front?

I am pleased for him, it's been a difficult summer for him and I'm sure it will help him and his reputation with the fans if he keeps doing the work he is doing.

He came through, he's destroyed now but so happy.

The most important thing is the three points, without any doubt, but the clean sheet is massive, especially for a side in the position of Sunderland against Manchester City.

It was always going to be very, very difficult to adapt but we managed to do it, the tactical awareness from the players was amazing, they gave everything.

We were concentrating all the time, even the last few corners - we were defending from the bench!

We said it from the moment that we beat Newcastle, it's about winning games; we had a very good second-half against Hull, a great game against Southampton here and a massive win today.

The supporters were absolutely fantastic, outstanding. It shows that if we believe and we are all together it's going to be easier get out of this position.

Poyet's very right n everything he's said here, although you have to hope the jest about Bardsley up front remains merely jest. Although stranger things have happened. Onto our thoughts...

Big, Bad Wesley Brown

His first Premier League start in 22 (TWENTY-TWO) months, and it certainly didn't look it. Perhaps more alarming is it was two games in a week for Brown -- just as much of a feat in itself. Brown was absolutely magnificent at the back, as we pointed out in our Player Ratings feature, and really to anyone with eyes. Games like that make it much more easy to tolerate his injuries.

Midfield Maestros

Both Ki and Larsson were hugely impressive and influential in helping us win. Ki was classy in possession and used the ball well, where as Larsson worked his bollocks off and made timely blocks and interceptions all afternoon. It's worth pointing out too that if you throw Jack Colback into the mix too, all three had a pass success rate in excess of 87%.

The Reset Button

It's not the most amazing nickname for a player, but that's rapidly what Ki has become for us. Everything we did that was of note came through him, and with him sitting nicely in front of the defence, any time we were unsure what to do, we just handed it off to Ki who managed to make us tick.

It's much the role Liam Bridcutt had under Poyet at Brighton, but on a much grander scale.

No Resorting To Violence

The crowd seemed to have turned. Where as usually fight and tough tackles are rewarded with cheers, leaving the likes of Lee Cattermole to earn the occasional ovation, rarely did a Sunderland player go lunging in on a Manchester City player (Larsson's first half indiscretion aside).

There's proof that we can change, and it can be appreciated. Blood and thunder has well and truly been replaces by pragmatism and intelligence. Long may it continue.

Substitute Use

Credit to Poyet too for his use of subs. Ok, so bringing on Fabio Borini was a little pointless, but the fact he managed to shuffle the pack and get everyone to do their new job well was superb. Jozy Altidore provided a great outlet as a late sub, where as Craig Gardner allowed Colback to move wide and nullify Jesus Navas. It was very good to see us actually be clever with subs rather than using them as a Hail Mary.

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