MARTIN O’Neill admitted even he could not have dreamt up the circumstances surrounding his winning start to life as Sunderland manager.
With his side trailing Blackburn with seven minutes to go, the Ulsterman watched on as David Vaughan smashed home an equaliser before Sebastian Larsson’s injury-time winner.
Speaking after the 2-1 triumph, O’Neil said: “Even in my wildest dreams I could not have envisaged it happening like that.”
Recovering from a sluggish start which saw Blackburn nick a 17th-minute lead through Simon Vukcevic, he added: “The crowd afforded me a wonderful reception before we settled into the game, but I felt with 10 minutes to go that it was déjà vu from last week at Wolves.
“We had loads of possession and kept trying to play, and overall I felt we did terrifically despite trying to thread it through the eye of a needle at times. You were thinking at some stage that you must get a break, and we deserved that breakthrough.”
Rewarding a second-highest Stadium of Light attendance for their patience, O’Neil said: “The players were very determined today, and it is hard when you are playing here and wanting to please people. At some point a couple of things will go wrong and you will get that feeling of frustration and anger, but I thought the crowd were fantastic. They kept with us, but of course you are going to get moments. I thought the players got a wee self-belief, and they thought that if we do keep playing them something will break for us.”
He added: “There were 10 minutes before half-time when we started putting balls into the penalty area, and it was a bit like heading practice for Blackburn. We tried to adjust in the second half and get some better angles, and eventually someone has to get in to score a goal.