Gus Poyet was full of big praise for Adam Johnson after Saturday’s huge win for the Black Cats. Not only was it a derby win over their fierce rivals – don’t think this one will be soon forgotten, a real whuppin’ at St. James Park – three points on the road will be an enormous boost to Sunderland’s efforts at dodging the scourge of relegation.
Poyet’s men find themselves today just a point out of the relegation zone, although that could change with Sunday’s matches.
So, Johnson got the big heaps of praise. Poyet was also spooning out the praise for debuting midfielder Liam Bridcutt, who eased the pain of playing without injured midfielder Lee Cattermole.
But let’s not forget Jozy Altidore’s role in this Saturday to remember for Sunderland. The sources performing player ratings for this one certainly didn’t. Here is some of what Sunderland blog Roker Report had to say, noting that the U.S. man’s previous match against Stoke City was strong, too:
Neither of Newcastle’s central defenders could handle him, he had a big hand in the second goal when his clever flick set Colback on his way and he couldn’t have led the line any better than he did today. He is still not having any luck in front of goal but if he keeps playing this way the goals will come. Superb.
The numerical ratings all were a bit over the top, but the enthusiasm for this one is easy to understand for those truly invested in Sunderland fortunes.
The individual player ratings at Goal.com were slightly more level-headed, mentioning that that Altidore did miss a finishing touch. He still has just two goals this year after his high-profile transfer out of AZ in the Netherlands.
All of this, of course, would portend great things as Altidore’s huge summer approaches. He’s still Jurgen Klinsmann’s top choice at striker, although that looks like a tenuous hold, as Aron Johannsson keeps scoring in Holland.
Confidence means so much for strikers; today’s unforgettable afternoon at Newcastle could launch a big February, which could launch a big spring, which could … well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.