Gus Poyet has promised Sunderland supporters “the best is still to come” from his Black Cats after their resurgence was confirmed by a brilliant derby win.
Poyet’s team were sensational at St James’ Park as they brushed aside Newcastle thanks to goals from Fabio Borini, the reborn Adam Johnson and the excellent Jack Colback on a day where they dominated their North East rivals.
Poyet handed a debut to Liam Bridcutt on a day when it felt like supporters had a first vision of what he has imagined Sunderland to be moving forward, the former Brighton midfielder changing the midfield dynamic and giving the Cats a pleasing fluency and vibrancy.
All of that was achieved with Ignacio Scocco still on the bench, Poyet having pin-pointed the Argentina striker as the player with the potential to add another element to Sunderland attacking efforts.
Poyet said: “The best is still to come. I’m not saying we are going to win 3-0 every week, but there is no reason why we cannot perform with this consistency now.
“I am convinced about that. The difference is we needed to score the first goal.
“We got the first penalty and we needed to score it to give ourselves a lift. There are moments in the game where you need to make the difference and we did that today.
“I’m not trying to be too big, but I’m expecting to get better.
“We have players who are desperate to play and that will lift them a lot. That should help things to get better. I am always convinced if you train in an environment where you have 20 players, and any of those players can play, the session is better.
“The quality gets better because you need to do very well during the week against very good players.
“Then you will put it on the pitch because you know if you don’t you will be out.
“I am sure we can still improve because I am sure we are going to be more brave and control the game better.
“On Saturday, because it was the derby and because Newcastle left the spaces they felt they had do, it became possible for us to create more chances than perhaps we should.
“I am thinking we can be that good many, many times, not just in one game where the occasion helped dictate the game.”
As Sunderland continue to improve, the form of Johnson has become a huge factor in their resurgence.
The winger has made a convincing case for an England recall and was outstanding on Saturday as Sunderland took the game to their North East opponents. He scored and hit the post during Sunderland’s second successive 3-0 win.
Johnson said: “It is one of those things, people go through bad form and it has taken me time to find my feet here.
“I was always confident it would come. You don’t turn in to a bad player overnight. I am just delighted for us as well, the away it is going.
“When the team is playing well, individuals come through.
“The manager has not sat me down.
“He has just let me get on with my game.