Quick Kicks: Thoughts And Reaction To Newcastle United 0-3 Sunderland

Stu Forster

If there was plenty of positives to draw from Paolo Di Canio's first game in charge against Chelsea, there's about a billion to draw from Sunday's 3-0 massacre of Newcastle...

What The Gaffer Said

I'm very happy for everybody at this club. It's great for the fans to be able to celebrate such a win - I'm very proud of my players, they gave everything. They were fantastic - just perfect - they were warriors.

I didn't do anything other than give out my instructions from the dugout.

I don't have time to celebrate now as this is just one step, there are more steps needed right up until the end of the season.

I have to maintain focus and be fully prepared for the next game.

There were three fantastic goals. Adam Johnson took his very well and he caused problems today as did Stephane Sessegnon.

We know they are capable of that and they showed what they can do today with their goals.

Newcastle were very good in the opening 20 minutes; we played far too deep but we got the better of them and ultimately deserved to win 3-0.

It's a special day for the fans. They were louder than Newcastle fans today and they have made me very proud.

Exactly the right post-match comments from Di Canio. Obviously he was as happy as us with the result and the performance, but we do have to remember that this is just one step towards staying in this league. You'd have to fancy our chances a lot more now though.

Eleven Unlikely Heroes

In our podcast pre-match we were looking at who might be the hero of the day, if one was to come around. Who'd have known it would be every single one of them?

No Steve Fletcher or Craig Gardner... that's half our goals this season gone. Seb Larsson shifted back into a central midfield position where he's struggled this season... what was the point? It's clear that Di Canio has a little more about him than Martin O'Neill did.

Every single one of them was magnificent in their own different way, and rather than one person step up and produce a gamewinner, it was all of them. The ultimate team performance with a spirit not seen in years.

One Small Step Towards Safety...

While we have to be excited and enjoy the moment, and there'll be sore heads this morning all over the North East to prove that's happened, the three points won from the game are arguably bigger than the result or the opposition.

Many had this down as a defeat. A draw maybe at best during a tough run as the season comes to a close, but the points and it lifting our league position puts pressure on those below us now, and gives us the all important momentum with just five games to play.

A lot could happen. Whilst it should give us momentum, it's up to Di Canio and the players to ensure it does. Certainly there'll at least be a new found confidence and swagger about us for the crucial games against Stoke, Aston Villa and Southampton that will still ultimately decide our fate.

...One Giant Leap For A Much Maligned Duo

More woes came pre-match when it was announced Connor Wickham had and injury and wouldn't play any part, with "Big" Danny Graham given the task of causing a ruckus against his boyhood heroes, and that he did.

We've been quick to criticise Graham so far in his Sunderland career, and it's still quite justified given the poor performance he's put in, but Sunday could well be a turning point as his non-stop running and bullying on Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Steven Taylor caused no end of problems for The Mags.

Adam Johnson is another who's been in the main poor despite some flashes of brilliance. While his overall play was decent, the goal which ultimately put the game to bed will give him some grace among the more critical element of Sunderland fans.

This game could prove in time to be a turning point for both of them.

Will The Real Stephane Sessegnon Please Stand Up?

My worry is that even if we win every game and avoid relegation comfortably, we'll be docked points and relegated regardless for fielding an ineligible player. Clever of Di Canio to get someone that looks exactly like Stephane Sessegnon to take his shirt, name and number but it could all backfire...

What the Dickens?? That's the same person out there performing incredibly in the number 28 shirt? Bahh...

Perhaps the biggest, biggest thing is that Di Canio can clearly get Sess to fire on all cylinders where Bruce and O'Neill only managed it in flashes.

There seems to be a new aura about Sessegnon. He wants the ball, he's making things happen, he's looking dangerous consistently, he's chasing down defenders. He's quite simply looking like the player we all thought he might be one day, and it's a joy to watch.

Who Needs Mourinho, We've Got Di Canio

It's an easy comparison to make. The suits, the style, the air of arrogance, the broken English, the quotable interviews, the inspiration to his players, the fine line between being 'one of the lads' and in charge, and now of course we can add to that the wild celebrations.

I might just still be a little excited, but we might be onto something very, very special here.

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