O'Neill calls for calm in Tyne-Wear derby
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has said he is hoping to avoid a repeat of the scenes that soured the last meeting between the two sides in February.
Tensions were already running high at St James Park before a late Shola Ameobi equaliser caused emotions to spill over, with the away dugout taking objection with the way Alan Pardew chose to celebrate his side's dramatic leveller.
"A number of things can happen in the spur of the moment which can be very embarrassed with and be very annoyed with yourself about afterwards. I just hope that both of us have been able to learn a lesson from the previous encounter," said Oneill.
I don't have a coterie of managerial friends. I don't phone people up, they certainly don't call me," he revealed.
"I just get on with my job.I've just never done that (phone managers up)." O'Neill also revealed that in the wake of the game he looked to smooth things over with Pardew following his rivals success at the League Manager's awards.
"It was the dinner that he won and I went over to congratulate him. He was a bit surprised. I think he was. Of course it will be the same old game, it won't take the edge of it." He said smirking, before adding: "Do you know, what's the point in me telling you something on a Thursday that I come to just totally obey on Sunday?
"I'm hoping that part of it, the unedifying part of it, I'm hoping that we will be able to cut that out. The rest of it? I'm fine with that."
"Look it was nothing. It was forgotten about," he said. Before adding mischievously: "After four months."
And while the Black Cats boss was also keen to move away from claims the fixture is a defining moment of the season, he acknowledges the confidence boost it can provide players.
"While I don't think it will be a defining moment of the season I think it is a significant moment. It's important for us to do very well in the game, give us a boost of confidence to know that Newcastle, who had an exceptional season last year, that we might be making progress to that ourselves.
"That's what the win can do, give you confidence."