Sunderland boss Lee Johnson on why hat-trick hero Aiden O'Brien deserved more credit for Charlie Wyke's goals last season

Lee Johnson said Sunderland's late winner at Blackpool could be 'really powerful' for the club moving forward.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 9:15 am
Sunderland celebrate Aiden O'Brien's second goal

The Carabao Cup second round tie looked to be heading for penalties when substitute Josh Bowler equalised for Blackpool with just minutes to play.

Sunderland had fought back from an early deficit to take the lead, with Johnson's youthful and much-changed side playing some impressive football along the way.

Aiden O'Brien then converted a Jack Diamond cross to seal his hat-trick and his team's place in the third round.

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The travelling support were sent into delirium and showed their appreciation when the full-time whistle was blown shortly afterwards.

"Every win is important, it really is," Johnson said.

"We're trying to win the trust of the supporters all the time, and it can be really, really powerful what you see at the end there.

"It buys you the odd bad performance because they see that the lads are putting it all in there, and they see that we are trusting youth.

"We did make a lot of mistakes today but we recovered through good attitudes.

"That is what youth brings you, sometimes they can be a little bit green but the enthusiasm is there for everyone to see.

"I thought it was a tough game.

"Both sides played their game and tried to impose the way they want to play on the other.

"It was a really good game.

"To be honest I thought there was a lot of talent on show from both teams.

"It was a challenge for us, having been beaten by them twice last year and with them being the team that ultimately secured that play-off win.

"I'd been told after the Wigan game that it had been a long time since we'd bounced back from a deficit to win. So that's a good habit to get into, to continue to drive forward and keep playing our way.

"That was what pleased me most.

"We had one-v-ones, and Aiden felt he took a little kick on the stud for one. Nathan had a good opportunity and then we felt that his goal was onside, so the timing of his movement was good.

"There were a lot of positives."

Johnson hailed O'Brien's contribution, as the Irishman backed up his goal from the penalty spot in the first round at Port Vale.

The 27-year-old has played his way firmly into contention for more senior minutes and Johnson says he is a player who perhaps went under the radar at times last season.

"I'm really pleased for him," Johnson said.

"I thought last season he maybe didn't get the credit he deserved. Charlie finished the chances but he often played better when he had Briz occupying defenders and spaces, and showing that running power.

"He deserved more of the credit for Charlie's goals. We gave him that internally, he's a very good player.

"I'm really happy for him.

"There's only two people in that changing room with a League Cup hat-trick, me and him!"