Sunderland’s Adam Johnson rewards Gus Poyet for leap of faith: ‘It’s a massive win for us’
NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom // Adam Johnson played the decisive role in Sunderland’s 1-0 win at Newcastle United in the Premier League, but only after persuading manager Gus Poyet to let him stay on the pitch.
Poyet was preparing to substitute the winger after he missed an excellent chance in the closing stages, but changed his mind and was rewarded by Johnson’s excellent goal in the 90th minute.
“The manager told me that I would be coming off, but told him I was alright to stay on,” said the match-winner.
Their reward came when Johnson held off a challenge from Moussa Sissoko as a Newcastle attack broke down and found support from Steven Fletcher and Will Buckley as he broke forward 50 yards.
Fletcher kept the move going, then Buckley played a perfect pass inside to Johnson, who rifled his shot past Newcastle’s third-choice goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.
It was a fitting goal to decide a high-octane derby.
“It’s a massive win for us and gives us a great boost, but I think it has been coming for weeks,” added Johnson.
Poyet has come out on top in his last five meetings with Newcastle manager Alan Pardew while in charge at Brighton and Sunderland, but was reluctant to gloat.
“I need to be careful and show respect to everyone at Newcastle,” said the Sunderland boss.
“I hope everyone will understand our feelings. It is great, incredible and something to remember all your life. It is a special moment for the club.
“There is no more confidence than you can get from beating your local rivals at their place, so there are no excuses now for next week.”
Newcastle have now lost three games in a row, but this was not a repeat of their capitulations at Arsenal and Tottenham in the past week.
They created several opportunities and Pardew’s adventurous substitutions left them with three strikers on the pitch in the closing stages.
“Sunderland have caught us on the break before and they did it again. It is painful,” admitted the Newcastle boss.
“I think my players were wrapped up in the emotion of the derby in the first half, but we caused them problems in the second.
“If there was one fault today it was that we over-committed at the end, but this club wants to see goals.
“I’m never going to be a manager who accepts a draw at home as a positive result, but we should still have the discipline to do the job.
“It was our defenders who over-committed, but I am not here to criticise my team. They gave everything and tried to win it.
“If you are going to lose, it’s good to do it in the right manner by trying to push for a win.”
Sunderland badly needed this win after a succession of draws which had left them worryingly close to the relegation positions, while Newcastle continue their difficult holiday programme with a trip to Manchester United on Friday.
English Premier League results & fixtures
Hull City 0 Swansea City 1
Queens Park Rangers 3 West Bromwich Albion 2
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Burnley 1
West Ham United 2 Leicester City 0
Monday (in UAE time)
Stoke City v Chelsea, midnight
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Published: December 22, 2014 04:00 AM