Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has warned his derby heroes victory over Newcastle is only a start.
The 61-year-old admitted that the Black Cats got a break as they made the most of Magpies skipper Fabricio Coloccini’s dismissal to beat their arch-rivals 3-0 and complete a sixth successive win over them, and more importantly a first Barclays Premier League triumph of the campaign.
Allardyce’s men levered themselves off the foot of the table as a result, but he has told his players they will have to be a lot better if they want to avoid another survival scrap.
He said: “We have got a lot of work to do. We have got to be a lot better than we were today. Enjoy the victory, yes lads and well done, but we need to get a lot better than the performance we showed today, for me, if we are going to get out of trouble and get into mid-table.
“But for me, I am going to be pushing the lads hard to get better than even this performance today. That might sound a bit harsh, but we need to get better.”
Allardyce, who lost midfielder Ola Toivonen and John O’Shea to injury before half-time and then saw O’Shea’s central defensive partner Younes Kaboul limp off the pitch after the final whistle, looked on as his team was completely out-played by Newcastle during the opening 45 minutes.
However, the game turned in stoppage time at the end of the half when referee Robert Madley waved away Georginio Wijnaldum’s appeals for a penalty against Lee Cattermole – replays suggested the midfielder could have penalised for either handball or a foul – and allowed the home side to break at pace.
The official was not so reticent seconds later when Steven Fletcher went down under Coloccini’s challenge, and the Argentinian’s astonishment was compounded by a red card.
Head coach Steve McClaren said: “I have never seen him [Coloccini] so angry. He knows as well – and you do know whether you are in control of a challenge or not in control – and I have never seen him so angry.”
Adam Johnson calmly converted the spot-kick and although the 10 men gave a decent account of themselves – Aleksandar Mitrovic should have equalised 10 minutes after the restart – further goals from Billy Jones and the impressive Fletcher wrapped up the points.