Sunderland beat Tranmere 5-0 with goals from Duncan Watmore, Chris Maguire, Lynden Gooch, Will Grigg and Luke O’Nien. Phil Parkinson spoke afterwards. “It’s important, I feel that. You always want to get off and running as a manager, and to do it in the way we’ve done it tonight is obviously a great boost for everybody. I’m so pleased for the lads because they worked exceptionally hard and they earned that win. I’m just pleased because we’d spoken about getting the balance right between being in possession and keeping the ball, but being effective as well and making the opposition back four work. I felt we did that tonight, and looked a very dangerous team at times. It was incredible. The supporters were great. They were right with us from the start, I could feel it, and ultimately the supporters want to see effort and commitment, but they want to see goalmouth action as well. I felt we gave them that tonight and they responded brilliantly for us. It can only help with the confidence. Results haven’t been as good as expected recently, so it was very important to get back to winning ways. But it is about performance level too, and I felt the lads did exactly what we asked them to do. There were some very good individual performances tonight.”
The new Sunderland boss felt that Duncan Watmore was the pick of the bunch. “He’s in a good place at the moment,” said Parkinson. “It’s been tough for him, I know all about his injury problems. But right from my first day last Thursday, I was so impressed with him as a player because he makes those runs in behind and stretches the opposition back four. I think that’s key. Teams want you to play in front of them, but we have to get the balance right where we’re stretching the game as well. I thought Griggy did that well tonight, and Duncan as well. That will do him the world of good. We brought Duncan off after 60 minutes on Saturday, and I think he’s done 70 today,” added Parkinson. “It was important that we got him off, and we’ll see how he recovers. If there’s any doubt, we wouldn’t put him at risk, but he’s done two games now and that’s massive for him.”
He also gave an update on Gooch’s knock. “He’s twisted his ankle, but the physio has just told me he doesn’t think it’s too bad,” said Parkinson. “Obviously he wasn’t able to carry on, and we certainly won’t going to be taking any risks with him because we lost Charlie at the weekend and we can’t afford to lose any more because we’ve got a lot of games coming up.”
Lee Burge (6/10): Quick off his line but distribution was suspect.
Luke O’Nien (7/10): Added energy going forward and got a goal late on.
Joel Lynch (8/10): Won everything and didn’t give their strikers a sniff.
Jordan Willis (7/10): Strolled through the game.
Denver Hume (7/10): Got stuck in and went on some mazy dribbles.
Max Power (7/10): Dictated the game from midfield.
George Dobson (8/10): Added some much needed tenacity next to Power as well as being calm on the ball. Barely put a foot wrong.
Chris Maguire (7/10): Took his free kick well and really grew into the game after that.
Duncan Watmore (9/10): Scored one, set up one and won the free kick for Maguire. Watmore ran and ran as usual and really reaped the rewards.
Lynden Gooch (7/10): Scored a tap in and overall good performance. Energetic as always.
Will Grigg (8/10): Came close early on and looked to have regained some confidence. Finally got a well-deserved goal at the death.
Marc McNulty (7/10): Worked hard and created chances when the game was already won.
Conor McLaughlin (6/10): Didn’t do too much.
Benji Kimpioka (N/A): Didn’t have enough time, but nice to see him back on the pitch.