Ahead of our Wembley final this weekend, Max Power has given an honest assessment on the impact that Lee Johnson's has had on the club and his own career…
"I think it was the first time the manager didn't have to speak after a game on Tuesday and that was a nice feeling. We knew how well we'd performed. Being Sunderland in League One, you're expected to win every game and rightly so. I think sometimes we've not enjoyed those wins as much as we should, whether it's been a scrappy 1-0 or a 4-0 or whatever. It's one thing I've tried to bring in more as captain, enjoy those days and enjoy those performances. It only brings good cohesion for me.
"I see it in training, on Friday everyone comes in with a spring in their step and I'm gutted the game is not tomorrow because we're eager, ready to go. We can't get too ahead of ourselves, the gaffer is right when he talks about flattening the waves, but at the same time fans should get excited and we should too. We're in a final, a good position in the league. We need to use that momentum."
"I'm enjoying these different roles and that's been one of the things about this manager. I'm always learning and that's nice at 27, he wants to improve players and make them better. It doesn't matter whether it's me, a Dan Neil or someone like Granty. He's willing to help and coach anyone. Anyone who wants to get better as a footballer has the platform to do so. It's been a bit of a strange season in terms of, I started it as a captain but picked up a little injury and was a bit in and out. I'd be the first to admit that I lost a bit of confidence and performance. Since this manager has come in I've really enjoyed working with him, I have felt reinvigorated. You discuss football and for me, the most important signing in a building as a manager. Yeah we go on the pitch but the manager sets us up and gets us going. You saw Tuesday night, a really strong performance from back to front.”
"For me it's about keeping standards up and driving that. Take Dion for instance, who looks a player well beyond years. It's important for him to keep working hard, it's nice to get those pats on the back and I'm constantly talking to him, reminding him that you're only one or two performances away from the other side of it. It's so nice watching a player like that progress and at the moment, you can go right through the squad with that."