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Sunday, 10 November, 2002, 20:05 GMT
Phillips' debt to Wilkinson
Tore Andre Flo (centre) scores the second for Sunderland
Flo got his third Premiership goal for the Black Cats
Sunderland's Kevin Phillips says his comeback goal against Tottenham was the result of new boss Howard Wilkinson's coaching.

Phillips grabbed the opening strike in a 2-0 win at home to Spurs - his first since a hernia operation in the summer.

Afterwards he paid tribute to the manager who many derided when he accepted the Sunderland job - but who has begun to turn the club around.

"I think it showed in the celebration what it meant for me," said England international Phillips.


I said when I took over that there are no miracle cures but the patient is responding to treatment
Sunderland boss Howard Wilkinson

"It has been frustrating. But I've been gradually getting the fitness back, and today was the best it felt.

"In the last four weeks we've been learning and learning and learning from Howard Wilkinson, and it's come right today.

"I felt tired at the end but was delighted to get my reward - and the win. We hope that's the springboard for us to climb the table."

Wilkinson said the game was a "mission accomplished" as his team followed up their Worthington Cup victory against Arsenal with the slaying of another North London giant.

Kevin Phillips is challeneged by Tottenham's Chris Perry
Phillips proved a menace to the Spurs defence

"I said in the morning I wanted three things - a clean sheet, a Kevin Phillips goal and a first victory - and I've got all of them," the manager added.

"Let's hope we've started. But we know we've got a long way to go - and we've got a hard one next week away at Liverpool.

"I said when I took over that there are no miracle cures, but the patient is responding to treatment.

"I was pleased with the character and how we hung in in the first half. The self-belief which confidence breeds wasn't quite there in the first half."

Wilkinson also gave a mention to Phillips' strike partner Tore Andre Flo who scored the second goal.

"Many people would not credit Tore for his goal. He's got terrific skill but showed strength and determination," the Sunderland boss said.

Tottenham's manager Glenn Hoddle called on his side to bounce back in Saturday's derby against Arsenal.

"If Simon Davies' effort had gone in - and perhaps he should have scored - that would have put us in the driving seat.

"We've got a derby at Arsenal next week, so there's no better way to put things right."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's John Murray
"A big result for Howard Wilkinson's Sunderland"
Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips
"The whole atmosphere has changed"
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