Ashley Fletcher has given a searingly honest view of what he calls the 'stickiest patch of his career'.
A fine 4-1 win over Derby County raised the slim but real possibility of another great escape for Sunderland.
It was a significant moment for AFletcher, who ended his goal drought and then almost doubled his tally, curling a fine effort off the post in the second half.
The Middlesbrough loanee celebrated that opener in front of the delighted away support, a special moment for the 22-year-old who has faced his fair share of criticism since arriving on deadline day.
“The break was good for me,” Fletcher said.
“Obviously I was getting criticism and I took it on board. I went back to see my family, regroup and think about what I needed to do in the next few games. I think it helped in a way.
“To be fair, justifiably I’ve had a bit of stick from our fans. I hold my hands up – performances haven’t been up to my usual standard.
“I want to show them what I’m about really. The fans keep backing us every week so to have 2,000 there again, fair play to them for travelling and sticking with us.
“Everyone was buzzing at the end and I haven’t had the feeling we had in the dressing room since I’ve been at the club. Hopefully it can continue.
“There’s been some tough days but that’s the way football is,” he added.
“It’s probably the stickiest patch I’ve had in my career and I’m still quite young to deal with that. It has been tough but hopefully the good times now are starting to come and I’ve got to continue these performances into the games next week.
“I came because I knew it would be tough. It can go one of two ways – if the goal goes in against Bristol City it’s a different kind of scenario for me. It’s just those fine margins but hopefully the goal can give me confidence. I was buzzing in the dressing room afterwards and the lads could see that.
“Our main focus now is just on carrying on with these results.”