Gus Poyet is a player who the Sunderland players love to play for, says in-form winger Adam Johnson.
The league table the day Poyet was appointed made grim reading, with the Black Cats rock bottom and showing just one point from seven games. Saturday's derby demolition at the o3 Arena now sees them sat in 14th position as well as being in a Wembley final.
But, having declared Sunderland to have 'passed Newcastle off the pitch', Johnson insists they were written off far too early. He told The Journal:
People wrote us off two months ago, people said we were down.
I kept saying we still had a lot of home games to come.
Now we are well up the league. It just showed there was still a lot of football to be played.
We always had the confidence deep down. We just let everyone talk on the outside.
We are happy now, we are still pushing on and we have another great game coming up on Saturday.
Gus is a top man. The staff as well, we all have a good camaraderie. We have always stayed together and he has installed that. The lads love playing for him.
I think that Johnson himself is the best example of the value of a good manager that there is. He was going nowhere a month ago and looking a total shadow of the player Sunderland bought.
Since then he has hit a staggering seven goals, is torturing full backs up and down the land, and looking like he has an outside chance of going to the World Cup this summer. I can't remember a turnaround like it.
We have seen enough new managers here to understand the 'new manager bounce', but that is obviously not what is happening with Sunderland right now. This is total transformation on several levels. It is genuinely astonishing and long may it continue.