Newcastle defender Taylor: Sunderland fans know I was joking

Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor is confident the majority of Sunderland fans took his jibes in the lead-up to the derby in good jest.

Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor is confident the majority of Sunderland fans took his jibes in the lead-up to the derby in good jest.

He insists he will not change his style, especially after getting the thumbs up from the majority of Sunderland supporters, in addition to Martin O’Neill and his squad.

He told the Sunday Mirror: “I think Sunderland fans know what I’m like. It was tongue in cheek, a bit of banter. Maybe some of the supporters got caught up in the emotion of it all.

“The Sunderland players knew I never meant anything by it.

"I’ve played with the likes of Adam Johnson, Craig Gardner and Lee Cattermole for the Under-21s, and I spoke to Titus Bramble and a few of their lads after the game.

"They know what I’m about, I even shook hands with Martin O’Neill.

“As for the ‘We wish you were dead’ chants’, I think some of their supporters were just a bit stuck for words for one of their songs.

“I had a bit of a laugh with them. I thought the 48,000 of them were great.

"They never once shut up during the game, supporting their side, and as a player I love that level of passion.

"I’ve seen Sunderland fans since the game and they’ve shaken my hand. They appreciate the banter, the way I tried to get things up for the game.

“I think the worst thing I could have done was to take my top off when I warmed up down the side of the pitch at the Stadium of Light during the game.

“I don’t think that went down too well but I sincerely apologise to any Sunderland fan who felt I over-stepped the mark.

"I wasn’t being malicious, I just wanted to have a laugh.”

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