Originally out of the starting XI, the 24-year-old Uruguayan was called up to the first-team following the injury Anthony Reveillere suffered in the warm-up, and his game did not get off to the perfect start. Seemingly not up to match fitness, Coates was thrust into a makeshift back-four, and was yellow carded inside the first minutes of the game.
However, his performance was much improved as the game wore on, and the 16-capped international played a vital part in limiting the Magpies attacking threat to long-range half-chances - building the solid base from which Adam Johnson could score the late winner to gift Sunderland just their third win of the season.
Despite moving to the Premier League in August 2011, Coates had made just 12 appearances for the Reds before returning to first club Nacional on loan last season, and then joining the Black Cats at the opening of this campaign. He has been something of a disappointment following all the high praise circulated around the defender in his youth, but Poyet was pleased with his performance against Newcastle - calling it his best game in England.
“Being a fellow countryman from Uruguay, I wanted to give him a more normal game where he knew he was going to play and he could prepare,” Poyet told the Chronicle.
“At 1pm, I was expecting him to be on the bench and 10 minutes later, he was doing a circle with the subs, enjoying the atmosphere.
“But then he was in with an unexpected back four, and then after two minutes of the game, he got a yellow card.
“But I thought he was fantastic. People have even been saying it’s one of his best games in England.”
Poyet has put much of Coates performance down to how Sunderland played as a team, saying: “That shows how well we defend and how we organised we are.”