Gus Poyet believes that a win over Newcastle United was the catalyst behind Sunderland turning their fortunes around last season.
The Black Cats had made a dismal start to the season and appeared to be heading towards relegation, but Poyet believes that a win over Newcastle gave them confidence.
The Wearsiders beat their North-East rivals 2-1 in-front of their home supporters in October last year and Poyet has identified that result as the confidence builder which was key for the squad.
"When I first got here and we lost 4-0 at Swansea, there was a doubt about how much we were suffering as a group," he said to the Chronicle.
“We beat Newcastle and that helped to change the momentum, and now I think you can definitely see that the team is always trying.
"No matter what else is happening, we are always trying really hard to win the game, or at least not to lose.
“That is something the fans in the North-East really appreciate. It is not enough – you need to do that and then also win matches – but it is an important starting point whenever you go onto the field.”
It was an 84th minute winner that proved crucial on that day, with Fabio Borini writing his name into Sunderland folklore and Poyet clearly feels that goal was vital to their season.
Even though that result may have sparked the turnaround it took a while for it to properly ignite.
The side had looked doomed before a brilliant run of form towards the end of the campaign lifted them up the table and to safety.
It was a thrilling end of the season, but one which the club will not want to repeat and the challenge will be to ensure they are safely clear of the drop this time around.
So far the side have showed their fighting spirit that Poyet has talked about, but they have struggled to pick up three points with any regularity and this is something which will need to change in the future.
The side travel to Southampton at the weekend in what looks a tricky tie, but they will be buoyed from the victory which they picked up in their last fixture against Stoke City.