sport

Poyet hails Dowd's decision

Gus Poyet hailed the best refereeing decision he has ever seen after seeing Sunderland drag themselves out of the relegation zone.

The 46-year-old Uruguayan was full of praise for match official Phil Dowd, who sent off Cardiff defender Juan Cala and awarded a penalty after initially allowing play to continue.

Poyet believes the decision was a direct result of the debate sparked by West Ham midfielder Matt Jarvis' attempts to stay on his feet under the challenge of Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna earlier this month, which ultimately went unrewarded.

"I think just to explain to you it is the best decision by a referee I ever seen in my life," Poyet told Sky Sports. "I am not only talking about my managerial career, my football career, my fan career - it's incredible, it's outstanding.

"We have been talking for the last 10 days after that Jarvis incident and that gives us all coaches and managers the possibility to believe that it is possible to get a decision even if a player doesn't go down."

Poyet admitted the red card and penalty decisions were the turning point in the game despite the fact Sunderland were already leading at that point.

"The turning point is the penalty and the sending off but until then we were always in control which is good to see because there are nerves everywhere in the city and the team is not away from it," added Poyet.

"But I think the connection with the fans in the first 20 minutes was incredible and that helped."

Poyet also hailed the form of Connor Wickham after he made it five goals in three games with a brace against Cardiff.

He said: "He was ready when he was needed. He waited for his chance, he needed a run of games sometimes it is difficult for managers to give a player a quantity of games to one player in particular but he deserves it because of what he has been doing in the last two years.

"It was time as well and sometimes you get in at the right time and that was important for us.

"I have said it all the way along the last couple of weeks, if he keeps his form he is going to save us practically on his own."

The win meant it was back-to-back victories for Sunderland and Poyet believes they need two more wins to secure survival.

"I think we need to win a couple of games to be really safe, but the idea is everyone is believing and not just the group.

"Of course we have had plenty of setbacks and now it is the other way around and we are taking advantage of little breaks and are on a bit of a run."