ADAM Johnson today labelled Sunderland’s deja vu victory over Manchester City as the highlight of his Black Cats career so far after grabbing the winner against his former employers.
Johnson’s second-half strike against the Premier League champions left the Stadium of Light rocking after Martin O’Neill’s men secured a 1-0 victory over City for the second successive season.
The Easington-born winger has taken his time to settle on Wearside since his £10m summer move from the Etihad Stadium.
But Johnson revelled in his match-winning contribution yesterday as Sunderland secured back-to-back wins for the first time since March to move seven points clear of the relegation zone and leapfrog rivals Newcastle United.
Johnson told the Gazette: “Without a doubt, that’s the highlight... although there haven’t too many so far, to be honest!
“But from the team’s point of view and for who we’ve just beaten and everything that goes with it regarding me, it was definitely the highlight.
“The crowd were so loud from the very start. We pressed and got them behind us and that’s what we need to do here.
“We need to show the fight we showed yesterday.
“It’s important anytime to get three points, but it just makes it a little better with the opposition.”
Johnson, who scored for City at the Stadium of Light in March 2010, thought England keeper Joe Hart had saved his long-range effort eight minutes into the second half.
But Hart couldn’t keep it out after Johnson noticed that the City keeper had left his near post unguarded.
“Harty is probably the best keeper in the world and I’ve seen him save them many a time,” said the 25-year-old.
“I cut inside and saw Harty leaning towards the far post.
“I thought he’d saved it and it had gone around the side of the post rather than in the net. I couldn’t see the ball because he was covering it.
“But when the crowd cheered, I knew it was in. It all happened so quick.
“It’s crazy how football works. I scored the equaliser for City at the Stadium of Light three years ago and now to score the winner for Sunderland against City was in the script I suppose.”
City, who forced several impressive saves out of Simon Mignolet in the opening 15 minutes, piled on the pressure after Johnson’s goal, yet it was Sunderland who had the better opportunities to add to the scoreline.
Johnson added: “We could have scored more goals.
“There were times towards the end where we defended for our lives.
“But that’s what you’ve got to do in the Premier League, no matter who it’s against.
“Whoever City are playing, they going to have chances and create things with the players they’ve got.
“I know Simon made a couple of great saves, but we gave them as good as they gave us.
“We’re delighted to get the win and the lads deserve a lot of credit.”