Yann M’Vila says the Wear-Tyne derby was the best game he’s EVER played in, despite previously featuring in some of the biggest encounters on the planet.
M’Vila was one of five derby debutants against Newcastle United who had been well-briefed by their team-mates on what to expect in the white-hot cauldron inside the Stadium of Light.
It was magnificent. It was the best match that I’ve ever played in.Yann M’Vila
The on-loan Ruben Kazan midfielder – voted Man of the Match afterwards – was no stranger to the big-match atmosphere anyway after featuring in the Milan derby last season and for France in Euro 2012.
But M’Vila believes the clash of the North East’s two tribes surpassed the lot, particularly after Sunderland recorded their elusive first victory of the campaign with a 3-0 win.
M’Vila told the Gazette: “It was magnificent. It was the best match that I’ve ever played in.
“I was involved in the Milan derby last season between Inter and AC, which is rated as one of the biggest games in the world.
“But it didn’t have the same atmosphere as this one. Sunday was simply extraordinary, magnificent.
“Everyone had told me what to expect, but the supporters were truly fantastic, and of course we scored three times in front of our home crowd.
“It was a pleasure to play in such a game. And for our morale, that win was very, very important.
“The penalty changed everything because before half-time, we’d had a few difficulties.
“Newcastle played well, I have to say, but then everything changed.
“It was us who were able to ask the questions after that. In the end we won it on merit.”
After the confidence boost stemming from moving off the basement, M’Vila insists Sunderland must now re-focus and head to Everton this Sunday believing that they can register back-to-back victories.
Clearly though, the derby has provided a feel-good factor in the Sunderland camp.
The league table instantly looks healthier for one, with Sunderland now two points adrift of fourth bottom Bournemouth and as M’Vila points out, only five behind reigning Premier League champions Chelsea.
“It’s clear that we need to keep picking up points,” he added.
“We’ve got a little bit of confidence after beating Newcastle, but now we need to go to Everton thinking that we can win.
“If we are solid and aggressive, then we can get something there.
“We’ve only had 10 matches and there is still so much of the season to go.
“It’s not a problem that we’re in the relegation zone at this time because the teams above us are not far away.
“I looked the other day and Chelsea are only five points ahead. Not 10, five.
“We just have to gain the maximum from each match that we can.”