Sunderland coach Dick Advocaat said the emotion of ensuring the Wearside club’s Premier League survival got to him on Wednesday, admitting he cried for the first time after a football match.
Advocaat’s men are assured of avoiding the drop to the Championship, after drawing 0-0 at Arsenal.
It was Sunderland’s 17th draw of the league season, and sees them secure in the top flight for 2015-16 despite just winning seven games this season.
Advocaat, who took the reins at the Stadium of Light in March, said he was taken by the significance of the moment.
“The emotions came when my friend, Bert van Lingen, we did 25 years serving together,” Advocaat told a news conference.
“When he arrived from the pitch and he starts crying… I did the same. He said let it go, so I said ‘why not?'”
When asked if he had ever let the tears flow after a football match, he replied: “No, but maybe it was for a special reason.”
Advocaat said it was all the more special securing safety on their terms, at the UEFA Champions League-bound Arsenal’s home ground the Emirates Stadium.
“We said straight from the beginning it is not about me, it is about everybody who is involved,” the Dutchman said of the start of his Sunderland reign two months back.
“From the president, to the people working at the office, from the team… for me, easiest way is to work with the team. Tell them what they have to do, and we start doing it from day one.
“And they believed in it.
“And nobody was expecting that we’ll do it [ensure survival] here, against a great team on a great pitch. If you can do it on your own, like we did, it gives me a special feeling.”
He added: “Nobody expected it.
“We had nine games, five away games, including Chelsea and Arsenal away.
“Nobody [was] expecting that we would do it, and the team did it.
“This is the moment for Sunderland Football Club to do something.”