Sunderland blew away Rochdale at a windswept Stadium of Light with an energetic first half performance. Assistant manager, Steve Parkin was on media duty afterwards: “It was a professional performance,” Parkin said. “We set out a way we wanted to play today, we wanted to come out the blocks and back up the second half performance at the weekend. The lads never gave Rochdale a chance to breathe really, they were right on top of them. Tactically, the pressing worked a treat, we were all in our blocks and the lads at the back allowed them to do that properly because they were right up on the halfway line. We’re delighted with the win, the goals and the clean sheet, which is massive for us. We knew when we came in we had to work on the number of clean sheets we were keeping. It's one of the most important things and if you'll do it, you'll win a lot of games. We've got a solid base to attack from and it makes a big difference. We've been more or less playing like that for five or six weeks, getting the ball wide, switching the play, backing that up by getting people on the edge of the box,” he said. “We lock attacks in and in difficult conditions, some of the play was exceptional. Back-to-back home games aren't easy, but I think there's a confidence in the crowd that's got to the players and they enjoy playing here, there's a real enthusiasm about playing at home. They're confident they can put a display on here and that's important.”

Despite Lynden Gooch’s brace, Parkin singled out Chris Maguire for praise. “I think he’s a player playing with a lot of confidence. I think he enjoys the role he’s playing; he’s relishing the fact that he gets a lot of the ball and in good areas. He’s a tremendous crosser of the ball, if you give him half a yard, he will put it in a good area. He’s been a key player for us and he’s enjoying his football.”

Maguire was subbed after he sustained an injury, but Parkin reckons he’ll be OK for Oxford United. “He’s alright. He said he did it with a burst of pace. I can’t see that, can you? I think it’s a bit of a dead leg. He’ll be fine.”

Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy was impressed with Sunderland: “From the outside looking in, they’re pretty relentless in the way they go about the game. They have a different style to what we experienced last season. It’s probably equally as effective, and we were under no illusions about how tough the game was going to be. From my own point of view though, and without wanting to take anything away from Sunderland at all, I didn’t think we were able to play at the intensity and speed that we have done during our good spells this season.”