Credit Given as Lee Johnson and Sunderland Turn Fortunes Around 

Lee Johnson and Sunderland

A week is a long time in football. Prior to having three home games in seven days, some fans were calling for Lee Johnson to be relieved of his duties. Sunderland had gone through a tough spell which had seen several poor results and performances. Knocked out of two cup competitions by lower league teams and slipping down the league table, Black Cats fans were disgruntled, to say the least despite results slowly beginning to improve. However, credit goes to Lee Johnson and Sunderland for turning their fortunes around.

Credit Must be Given to Lee Johnson and Sunderland 

Fans Were Getting a Familiar Feeling 

Not long ago, fans were getting a familiar feeling that their team where beginning to stumble following a promising start to the season. Results and performances dramatically worsened over a short space of time. In quick succession, Sunderland were beaten 5-1 and 3-0 away from home, knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two strugglers Mansfield Town and were beaten on penalties in the group stage of the EFL Trophy at home to Bradford City before being knocked out of the competition by Oldham Athletic. They were also beaten at home by the then-struggling and managerless Charlton Athletic. 

Fans were questioning whether Lee Johnson was the right man to get their club out of League One – a league that they are desperate to get out of.

Injuries were mounting and Johnson needed to find a solution to the worsening form quickly. The manager was confident however that performances and results would improve. He said: “There has still been signs of quality in the quality that we’ve got and we’re very confident we can go into the next batch of games, pick up the points and steadily improve performances.”

Undefeated Streak Sees Black Cats Rise to Joint Second

Johnson was proved correct. His side are now on a six-game unbeaten league run which has brought four wins and two draws. Results improved first. A vital home win over Ipswich Town at the Stadium of Light was followed by an away draw at Shrewsbury Town and victory at Cambridge United.

Although results had steadied the ship, performances were far from convincing. A home draw against fellow promotion hopefuls Oxford United kept the undefeated run going but with several key players missing and players playing out of position, fans could not get carried away. 

However, the two most recent home games against Morecambe and Plymouth Argyle have seen performances from every player improve immeasurably. 

Morecambe were well beaten, with some of Sunderland’s attacking play some of the best seen at the Stadium of Light for some time. Performance levels were high again as they welcomed Plymouth Argyle. The Pilgrims, despite having an excellent season, have had their own inconsistent form of late and lost their manager to Preston North End prior to this game. Sunderland raced into an early two-goal lead with well-worked goals from youngsters Nathan Broadhead and Dan Neil and deservedly won the game despite Argyle scoring a second-half goal. 

Lee Johnson and Sunderland Delighted

Lee Johnson, like the fans who sang his name after the Plymouth game, was understandably delighted with the way the club and their players have turned their fortunes around. A few short weeks ago, Sunderland were struggling but credit is due to Johnson and his squad. Now they must keep up their performances levels and get to January where Johnson can strengthen his injury-ravaged side.

Following the Plymouth game, Johnson said: “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.”

“I think the standards of the boys have been outstanding, to be honest. 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.”

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