The striker said immediately after the final that he would continue getting into the positions and it bore fruit with his 15th goal of the campaign to keep our hopes of sixth place in the Premiership alive.
He won't score an easier goal either as the outstanding Christian Ziege served it up on a plate, with all the trimmings, and he left with the task of side-footing into an empty net from eight yards.
It was no less the we deserved after creating chance after chance after chance - in fact, it looked like being one of those days again before 'Sir Les' struck.
The game should have been all over by half-time.
A succession of chances somehow only led to one goal before Sunderland nicked an equaliser with a rare forray into our half in injury time.
Teddy Sheringham began the assault on Thomas Sorensen's goal in the third minute, a shot too hot to handle for the keeper before it was hacked away and Simon Davies, back in the starting line-up, crossed low for Les Ferdinand but Jody Craddock did enough to put him off.
Gus Poyet had a golden chance after nine minutes but after perfectly reading Ferdinand's flick from Neil Sullivan's long kick, he poked his shot wide from 14 yards.
Patrick Mboma's diving header flew inches wide but play was soon at the other end as Ziege, creating havoc again, crossed low for Poyet to backheel towards goal only for Sorensen to save comfortably.
The breakthrough seemed inevitable and arrived on the half-hour. Ziege's near post corner was flicked on by Ledley King, Poyet managed to control the ball and poke it home from five yards - his 12 goal of a memorable season.
A minute later it could have been 2-0 as Ziege's supply line fed Ferdinand at the far post but the striker could only fire a difficult ball high into the stand.
Then the chance of the half. Ferdinand out-muscled Joachim Bjorklund and carried the ball into the box, spotted Sheringham square of him only for the skipper to clear the bar from 10 yards.
Ziege again provided the ammunition just before the break but this time his cross was headed over at the far post by Dean Richards.
Into injury time and the classic kick in the teeth. Bernt Haas picked out Mboma peeling off at the far post, he held off King and drove low and hard under Sullivan to level it.
To the lads' credit, they picked up where they left off in the second half.
They had a warning after 54 minutes when Sullivan had to be at his best to tip Mboma's header over but an electric spell finally led to the second goal.Sheringham and Poyet both failed to hit the target with free headers from pinpoint Ziege deliveries after 59 and 60 minutes and the goal followed two minutes later.
Ziege was, of course, there again as he raced clear onto Sheringham's pass, faced up to Sorensen and opted to square to Ferdinand, who slotted home from close range.
Sunderland, hampered by hamstring injuries to Bjorklund and Reyna, threw on Niall Quinn with 20 minutes left but we continued to control the game and look increasingly dangerous on the break.
In the end there was just one more chance and a heart-stopper in injury time as Quinn flicked on to Phillips who scuffed wide from 15 yards.
Les Ferdinand admitted on Thursday that he was still suffering after missing key chances in last week's Worthington Cup Final defeat - he went some way to attoning for those misses and putting his own mind at rest with the winner against Sunderland.