DICK Advocaat described the white-hot Stadium of Light atmosphere as “amazing” for his derby debut, especially given Sunderland’s dire home form this season.
Despite Sunderland averaging their highest home attendance since the Peter Reid era this season, there has been precious little to shout about, with just two Premier League victories on their own patch prior to yesterday’s Wear-Tyne derby.
The fans were amazing in the supportive way they treated us getting off the team bus and I think the players felt that too.
Three weeks ago, Sunderland were routed 4-0 by fellow strugglers Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light, with Gus Poyet paying the price and Advocaat taking the Uruguayan’s spot as Black Cats head coach.
With that background, Advocaat was full of praise for the support Sunderland received in the derby, with the crowd roaring the Black Cats on to a record-equalling fifth successive victory over Newcastle United.
Advocaat said: “We had to win. We were under a lot of pressure but the fans were special, given the fact that our last game here was the Aston Villa game.
“The fans were amazing in the supportive way they treated us getting off the team bus and I think the players felt that too.
“It’s a fantastic derby atmosphere and I knew if we could get those fans behind us we would have a great chance – they take no prisoners.”
Victory over the Magpies moved Sunderland three points clear of the bottom three and saw them leapfrog Aston Villa and Hull in the dogfight at the wrong end of the table.
Three points were all the more important considering bottom two QPR and Leicester both won on Saturday, while Burnley had moved level on points with Sunderland prior to the derby kicking-off.
However, after Sunderland secured just a second league win of 2015, Advocaat knows the Black Cats are still far from safe.
He added: “I give the credit to the players and dedicate the game to the fans. They deserved it but I have to focus on the games remaining.
“We still have three home games to go and we need to get the points from them so now we have to focus on the Crystal Palace game at the Stadium of Light (next Saturday).”