JOS: 'Fab produced when we needed it most'

by Stuart Vose

Skipper praises Borini impact following derby victory.

Fabio Borini’s starring role against Newcastle came as no surprise to John O’Shea.

Sunderland’s captain revealed that that Italian was flying during the squad’s work on attacking play at the Academy of Light in the build-up to the Wear-Tyne derby.

Fab was finding the top corner a lot of the time during the week and it just shows that what you do in training counts

- John O'Shea

And Borini – on loan from Liverpool – climbed off the bench to replicate his work on the training ground, slamming home six minutes from time to seal a 2-1 win.

“All week we’d been working on attacking stuff and shooting with everyone involved,” said O’Shea.

“Fab was finding the top corner a lot of the time during the week and it just shows that what you do in training counts.

“He was able to produce that when we needed it most.”

Speaking after the game, head coach Gus Poyet revealed that Borini’s performance in training almost earned him a starting spot, and O’Shea says competition for places will be key as Sunderland look to climb the Barclays Premier League table.

“The head coach has to have a tough decision to pick that starting eleven with the boys all doing their stuff in training,” he said.

“Then the lads who are picked in the eleven to start the game know they will have a battle on their hands to keep that place, so they’ve got to perform well.

“If that’s the case going forward we will have a successful season.”

Meanwhile both Poyet and his captain highlighted Sunderland’s mental strength in recovering from Newcastle’s second-half equaliser to go on and win the game.

Having taken the lead early on, the Black Cats restricted their derby rivals to shots from distance before Mathieu Debuchy levelled.

However, Poyet’s side held their nerve, wrestled the momentum back and prevailed thanks to Borini’s late strike, with O’Shea describing mental discipline as key.

“We had the belief in what we trained all week to do,” he explained. “We got the ball down again as quickly as we could as obviously Newcastle gained confidence from their goal.

“The whole team worked so hard together and showed that mental toughness. We kept trying to play and got the winning goal from the quick free-kick – Jack and Jozy combined and the rest was magical from Fab.

“I think it was what we deserved – the work we put in came together nicely.”