Yann M'Vila has settled in brilliantly at Sunderland since arriving this summer, and he is certainly enjoying life on Wearside too after describing the derby with Newcastle United on Sunday as "the best match that [he's] ever played in."
The Black Cats ended their winless start to the Premier League season with a 3-0 victory over their North-East neighbours, with M'Vila playing a huge part in the three points.
The French midfielder, on-loan from Rubin Kazan, was named man of the match on Sunday, providing the assist for the second goal of the day, scored by Billy Jones, whilst helping his team dig deep in a tough first half by performing seven defensive actions.
Speaking after the game, he was more than pleased with how the afternoon went, and particularly impressed by the "magnificent" fixture.
Tyne-Wear derby better than the Milan derby
M'Vila has played at the highest level for the majority of his career so far, but was quick to call the Tyne-Wear derby "the best match that [he's] ever played in," speaking to the Sunderland Echo.
He compared the fixture to the Milan derby in Italy, which he played in with Internazionale whilst on loan last season, a game "rated as one of the biggest games in the world."
However, he believes even that "didn't have the same atmosphere" as the match with Newcastle, adding that "Sunday was simply extraordinary, magnificent."
M'Vila said that his teammates had prepared him for the game and tried to explain what to expect, but it exceeded all his expectations, saying that "the supporters were truly fantastic" and that "it was a pleasure to play in such a game."
"The penalty changed everything"
Speaking about the game itself and the result, the midfielder recognised that the pivotal moment was Fabricio Coloccini's red card and the penalty that came as a consequence, saying that "the penalty changed everything," particularly because Sunderland had "had a few difficulties" in the first half.
Newcastle dominated the opening 45 minutes, and M'Vila himself acknowledged this, saying that they "played well," but he continued, saying that it was Sunderland "who were able to ask the questions" after the card, and "in the end [they] won it on merit."
He said it was great to score "three times in front of [a] home crowd" too, rewarding the fans for their patience and support after a tough start to the season.
Win important for Black Cats
Ending Sunderland's run of nine winless league games, the victory over Newcastle was huge for the team, and they will now hope for it to prove a springboard for their season, especially since it coincides with the recent appointment of Sam Allardyce.
M'Vila emphasised this post-match too, saying that the side have "a little bit of confidence" after the win, and they now "need to go to Everton thinking that [they] can win."
The 25-year-old continued, saying that, "for [the team's] morale," the derby win "was very, very important."
Now, they must look to build upon the result, as "it's clear that [they] need to keep picking up points," starting at Goodison Park on Sunday.