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Quick(ish) Kicks: What We Thought Of Manchester United 0 Sunderland 1

I've ran a little late with this one, there was family barbeques and testimonials and stuff. Belatedly, here's what we think about SAFC's victory at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Shaun Botterill

What the gaffer said

It was a very strange game; in the beginning it was very flat and had a slow pace, which gave us the chance to pass the ball and get forward.

Seb [Larsson] has been looking for that goal for a few weeks, he can finish very well, he's got a special right foot and what a way to get back on the scoresheet, with the winning goal at Old Trafford.

We defended magnificently after taking the lead. Every player put their body on the line and we had more chances after that and passed the ball around very well.

The subs were outstanding, we've started with the same XI for the last few games but I must say the subs have done brilliantly in those games when they've come on. They've brought something special to help the team each time.

We now know that one more win, in front of our fans at a packed out Stadium of Light will be enough for us and then we can celebrate together.

I'm immensely proud of the team; now I just want us to finish the job and get over the line. That would be a very special moment for me, the players, the fans and the club, then we can sit down and relax, but until then we won't stop.

No extra words needed from me here, great summation of everything from the main man.

Midfield Dynamos

For most of the season we've had KI as our outstanding midfield player. It was the failure to capture a real central midfield creator with on-the-pitch presence that aided the undoing of both Martin O'Neill and Paolo Di Canio - though the latter needed little aiding to be fair. Playing three in the centre obviously helps in the prevention of being overran, but individually, each of the triumvirate of Cattermole, Larsson and Colback have been outstanding in this little spike in form.

There appears to be a perfect balance of bite, composure and purpose in the middle of the park at present and each of the aforementioned deserve the utmost praise. While the undeniable impact of Connor Wickham and commanding presence of the centre halves rightly get lauded, I felt it was important to give an acknowledging nod in this direction.

Super Sunderland

When we lost to Norwich it seemed huge. They went seven points ahead of us at that stage. One thing I said then was that possibly the only positive to take was the inability of our opponents to pull clear from us. As we've chased that point gap down and surpassed it, The Canaries can be thanked for being a bit rubbish since that day. I believe they've taken one point.

However, the lads are the ones who can really puff their chests out now and be safe in the knowledge that the supporters are proud of their turnaround. We'd all written them off. Well, most of us. And considering what we were seeing on the pitch while also observing Poyet's mini-meltdown, nobody can really be blamed for that.

But then suddenly the fixture list presents you with Man City and Chelsea away, Cardiff at home and a trip to Old Trafford. What were you thinking at that time? One point? Any? TEN though? We have to acknowledge that this was a team who we felt didn't have the mental strength to cope. Remarkable. Caps donned.

(Ignore the cynical voice in your head - ignore it)

Typical Sunderland?

Ok, we know how the narrative goes now! Norwich have themselves a chance by grabbing a point at Stamford Bridge and considering Arsenal have Champions League football in the proverbial bag and an FA Cup final to think about...

Seriously though, Norwich have a habit of beating these sides at home (they probably don't but in my head they do). It wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility that we lost both our games, would it? West Ham? Villa? Anyone?

Ok, I'll be positive. We need a point. Even a scrappy 0-0 will do it. And we'll do it. Hopefully. We bloody better!

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