What The Gaffer Said
Sam's message pre-match was clear - that this was a must not lose game - but surely even he didn't envisage that Norwich would make it as easy as they did for his players on Saturday.
The result makes us all feel that much better based on the size of the game.
Norwich are immediately above us and we've closed that big gap to just a point with a game in hand for us.
That all-important clean sheet was a key element in our victory today. We defended hard, with plenty of long balls into the box which we coped with well.
We played some nice attacking football with quality goals at the end of it, and we could have had a couple more with the chances in the second half.
Young Duncan Watmore came in and got a nice goal for us, and Jermain Defoe's goal came at just the right time at the start of the second half.
It's a fantastic 3-0 win for us.
This is hopefully going to spur us on to more victories, because we need them to get safe.
We can enjoy our weekend – we deserve that – and the fans cheered us all the way along again.
We sold every single ticket we could get and we're sending them home happy. That long journey back won't seem as long now.
Jermain has missed a couple recently which he was very disappointed about but today he put us on track for victory and scored a goal at a very, very good time.
That made life a little more desperate for Norwich who threw everything forward and left the back door open for the third goal.
Sam needed that win, and having been under pressure to give someone a tonking for a while now he and his players did it at the perfect time. I have no complaints.
Credit To Sam...
Yep - I'm holding up my hands.
I'll always admit when I'm wrong, and I have to say I was fairly critical of Sam pre-match, especially when I saw the side. I felt that Lee Cattermole was long overdue a spell out of the side, and I didn't see much sense in dropping Rodwell and Lens from the bench, but in fairness to Sam he got it spot on and the team that started the game was set up perfectly.
It was great to see Seb Larsson and Duncan Watmore back in the fold, too. When you are ahead in a game they are the perfect players to bring on due to their workrate and ability to get us forward quickly and we seem to have stumbled across a fairly adequate game plan.
I expect we'll see the same team against Arsenal, which I'm fine with. It's up to the players to maintain that level of performance.
Cattermole Back To His Best?
Lee Cattermole had his best game of the season for us and it's imperative that he keeps it up. When he plays as well as he did against Norwich it makes me wonder why he can't do it consistently but I won't be complaining if he continues to play at that level between now and the end of the season.
His passing was top-drawer, he won tackles in important areas, was on the line to clear when we were under pressure and his passion was out there for all to see, and his enthusiasm often rubs off on his team mates which makes for a better Sunderland side.
He's got to build on that performance and continue to play at that level - if he does I'm certain we'll survive.
Borini Quality In Key Areas
Aside from running the length of the pitch to get up with Jermain Defoe to win the penalty - scoring it with ease - Fabio Borini played an absolutely sensational ball to Jermain Defoe for our second.
As much as he'd love to be a striker, he's clearly not as good there as he is out wide, detailed in the fact that just so many managers over the years have opted to play him in a wide role as opposed to down the middle. When they gave him the number nine shirt in the summer I suppose Fabio was expecting to be playing more as a striker but it just hasn't happened.
On Saturday he was creative in the right areas of the pitch and he seemed to relish in giving options to Jermain Defoe. He worked hard up and down the line, and he was a constant problem to Norwich.
He's got quality, and it felt with that performance Fabio has finally realised his role in our team.