Sunderland's recent resurgence is just the start of the good times, a beaming Gus Poyet has insisted.
The Uruguayan watched his side utterly dismantle Newcastle, tactically outclassing them on every level, and them confidently declared "the best is still to come".
He Told The Journal:
The best is still to come. I'm not saying we are going to win 3-0 every week, but there is no reason why we cannot perform with this consistency now.
I am convinced about that.
I'm not trying to be too big, but I'm expecting to get better.
We have players who are desperate to play and that will lift them a lot. That should help things to get better. I am always convinced if you train in an environment where you have 20 players, and any of those players can play, the session is better.
The quality gets better because you need to do very well during the week against very good players.
Then you will put it on the pitch because you know if you don't you will be out.
I am sure we can still improve because I am sure we are going to be more brave and control the game better.
I am thinking we can be that good many, many times, not just in one game where the occasion helped dictate the game.
I think the effect the introduction of Liam Bridcutt into the midfield had on that 'control' cannot possibly be overstated. That deep-lying midfield position is THE crucial one in Poyet's system. It's the pivot around which the whole thing revolves.
Having Bridcutt in the role - a player who Poyet spent years educating and preparing for it - added a telling new dimension to the midfield. It wasn't just in his play, either.
You could see he understood what was required and he couldn't have been more assertive in getting Jack Colback and Ki Sung-Yueng further up the pitch had he physically pushed them himself. That, in turn, brought the best out of Jozy Altidore, and that brought the wingers into the game earlier. The domino effect was obvious.
Ensuring survival remains the immediate challenge. The lads have got themselves into a fine position from which to do it, but there is plenty of work left to be done. Should it be achieved, the future is looking genuinely exciting for Sunderland.