Adam Johnson has revealed how Paolo Di Canio told him victory in the Tyne-Wear derby signalled a new start to his Sunderland career.
The former Manchester City winger scored the Black Cats' second on the way to a historic 3-0 win at St James' Park - their first at the ground of their bitter rivals for 13 years.
And Johnson said Di Canio had a private word with him after the match, telling him how this was a new beginning for him at Sunderland.
"After the game he said to me that this is the start, and that for me personally it’s going to get better and better, that this was the beginning for me at Sunderland," Johnson told The Mirror.
"The manager obviously gives everyone in the team confidence.
"He speaks to you individually and has spoken to me about things such as keeping the team’s shape - he wants it to be perfect, because he believes if the team has good shape then we’ll score.
"Our shape on Sunday was excellent - Newcastle couldn’t live with us when we attacked."
The England international says the victory gave the Black Cats a new lease of life and has made the Premier League table appear much less intimidating.
"It is always important to win. But to get a win in a derby does give you more confidence. When you look at the league table now, it’s not quite as scary.
"We are only, hopefully, going to go from strength to strength. I think there are a few teams that could still get dragged into the relegation fight.
"I don’t think anyone down there can believe they are out of the woods, certainly when you look at the fixtures that are coming up for some of them.
"It won’t just be between Sunderland and Newcastle in terms of who goes down. There are a lot that could get dragged into it.
"Who knows what’s going to happen - there are six games to go and a lot of points to play for."