'I thought it was proper entertainment' - Lee Johnson delivers this verdict as Sunderland deliver crucial win against Plymouth Argyle
Lee Johnson spoke of his pride in his Sunderland squad after they extended their unbeaten run to six games on Saturday.
Early goals from Dan Neil and Nathan Broadhead established an early lead for Johnson’s side, and the head coach was left frustrated that they did not take a number of chances to extend their lead before the break in what was a dominant display.
Plymouth Argyle improved significantly thereafter and reduced the deficit through a Dan Scarr header, but Sunderland continued to create chances.
Their inability to take them led to a nervy conclusion, but Johnson was thrilled with a crucial win.
“I thought it was proper entertainment, both teams played a good part in an entertaining League One game,” Johnson said.
"Plymouth are a good side, awkward to apply pressure to. We did really well in the first 15 minutes and that’s where we’ve effectively won the game. I thought we should have put it to bed with the really good chances that we had.
"We gave them a goal, which was disappointing, I thought we should have done better with that and it’s something to look at in-depth.
“But it’s third game in a week at home, another really tough game and we’ve got seven points from nine.
"We wanted nine and probably should have had nine with the level of performance, but I am proud of the lads really.
"Four or five weeks ago people questioned what we were doing, whether we were good enough.
"I think the young players in particularly, because they haven’t been through it before, have come out really strong and that stands us in good stead."
Johnson praised Broadhead for his superb goal, an audacious backheel that took his tally in the week to three.
“It was another great move, a really good team goal and one for our highlights reel,” he said.
“The movement before he finished was really good and the finish was sublime, it is almost a bit of a drag and a backheel all in one. You have to be full of confidence to execute that.”
Leon Dajaku also marked his recent improvement with another excellent display, particularly in the first half when he was a constant menace down the Sunderland right.
With Alex Pritchard again impressing through the first half, Johnson believes the duo have helped take the standards in his group ‘to another level’.
“I think the standards of the boys have been outstanding, to be honest,” Johnson said.
“Whether it be turning their socks inside out so the kit lady doesn’t have to spend 45 minutes a day doing that, whether it be keeping the dressing room tidy, or whether it be the consistent performances in training, the likes of Dajaku and Pritchard have given us another level in that regard, and getting that fitness to be able to compete Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday.”
The win kept Sunderland third in the League One table, with Rotherham United beating Burton Albion on Saturday.
Wigan Athletic were held to a draw by Ipswich Town, but have played a game less than Johnson’s Sunderland.