Lee Johnson was delighted to get his first win as Sunderland boss, even if it was in a meaningless cup fixture. Ultimately, a win is a win and we needed one.
LJ said: "Our on-pitch performance was better today, there was more movement in the box and more aggression and cohesion. Of course you’re playing a side of a slightly lower standard, but I thought they gave us a really good game. They hustled and worked our hard, but I think our class showed in the end. I said if you get 28 box entries in the final third, I’ll give you Christmas Day off, so there was a bit of a carrot there. We’ll have to see [whether we did]. It’s mentality really – we have to make sure that we’re aggressive. When I watched back the crosses from the game on Saturday, I was almost embarrassed. Even though I’d only been there a couple of hours, it’s not what I want to see in terms of a personality from my teams."
"Massive credit has to go to the lads – after one training session, we’ve managed to look dangerous from not looking dangerous at all. That was because there were aggressive runners to the front post, there was violence in the cross, and there were earlier crosses. We worked the ball into better areas, and that has to keep bumping up week by week. I was pleased with them today, even when we went a goal down it could have been a bit same-old, same-old, but we started to create cleaner-cut chances and with a bit more composure we could have had three or four goals today.”
“It's definitely good to get a win – for the lads more than anything. I'm comfortable in my own skin to deal with the pressure but there's nothing like winning football matches, and you could see in the dressing room that the buzz is back. I was pleased with them today, even when we went a goal down it could have been a bit same-old, same-old, but we started to create cleaner-cut chances and with a bit more composure we could have had three or four goals today. What we have to do is see a bit of character in action."
Johnson was also quick to acknowledge his error in initially selecting Dion Sanderson, who was then withdrawn when it came to light that he had previously played for Wolves in an earlier round of the competition. "I take that on my chin," said Johnson “I’m the one that selects the side. Yes, I've only been here a couple of days, but it's my fault. What we've got to do is drive standards. Our organizational standards need to be better.”