'Different strategy' was secret to Sunderland's victory at Wigan Athletic
Despite having not won in six matches, the Black Cats were very good value for their 3-0 victory.
And Neil revealed his tactical rethink behind the win - as well as getting in Wigan's faces from the off.
"That was the question mark before the game and that's what I said to the players before the game," he said.
"We need to prove to ourselves, and to everyone else, that we can stand up to these physical challenges.
"Even at half time, then it was, 'now you've done it for 45, have you got the steel to deliver in the second half?'
"I think players like challenges like that.
"The players rose their game to match that.
"There's always been a lot of challenges from day one, but it's really nice to come away from home against a good team, keep a clean sheet and send the fans home happy.
"They were terrific, backed us right through the match, and that was a real nice feeling at the end.
"We deployed a different strategy today, because they are very good at turning it down the sides and we needed to stop crosses into the box. We did that, in the main.
"We knew then that we would always be a threat in transition. I'm really pleased because everything we worked on this week, they've carried out to a tee.
"Everyone has done their jobs today but next week is a different game.
"I know we can't go out and play that way every week, different teams cause different problems, but we got the gameplan spot on today.
"Football is a simple game, but we sometimes complicate it by talking rubbish.
"We need to do the simple things well, which we did today.
"We competed, won our headers, picked up second balls, and had moments of quality.
"This is a really good platform for us."
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