SUNDERLAND boss Dick Advocaat paid tribute to the role Sunderland’s support played in their derby victory over Newcastle.
Jermain Defoe struck the winner in a 1-0 victory at a raucuous Stadium of Light.
The Dutchman paid tribute to the Sunderland fans, who were in full voice throughout and sustained their team even when legs grew heavier in the final exchanges.
“I’ve said it before, if you can get them behind you straight from the beginning then it will give you an extra boost,” Advocaat said.
“I’m really, really happy for the players, and for the fans because they deserved it as well. They were a real 12th man and I’m really happy about that.
“If they can keep doing this then we can give every opponent a very difficult time here.
“We know that we still have three home games to go and we have to get the points there but from tomorrow we will start concentrating on Crystal Palace.”
It was Advocaat’s first win as Sunderland head coach, and he allowed himself to celebrate his first victory but made sure to express his mild frustration that his team had not bolstered a risky 1-0 scoreline.
When asked about Defoe’s strike, he said: “I thought it was a brilliant goal, but besides that we had some good opportunities to score more goals.
“Overall, I think we really deserved it.”