Former Black Cat hails Chris Coleman for getting best out of Sunderland squad

Former Black Cat Michael Gray has praised the instant impact Chris Coleman has had on the Sunderland squad - and his ability to get the best out of the players.

Monday, 18th December 2017, 11:26 am
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 11:30 am
Sunderland manager Chris Coleman and assistant Kit Symons celebrate.

Sunderland climbed out of the Championship relegation zone with the 1-0 win over Fulham, the first on home soil in almost a year.

And the former defender was full of praise for Coleman and his two teenage subs who helped transform the game, matchwinner Josh Maja and Joel Asoro.

The pair were summoned from the bench for the final 20 minutes, Maja scoring the winner within five minutes of entering the action.

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Gray praised Coleman for the substitution and the promising youngsters for their impact.

"What a day for the young man Maja who showed great strength and awareness too,” said Gray.

"He’s obviously a goalscorer you can tell by the finish - absolutely fantastic.

"This is a game and a day that he will never forget for the rest of his career.

"Asoro too, a few things didn’t quite come off for him but he will get bums on seats because what he does is a threat.

"He’s got great ability and he can take players on and he causes problems and that’s what we’ve been missing.

"It was brilliant and let’s just hope we don’t have to wait 364 days for the next one.

"It’s a start and Chris is doing fantastic things and getting the best out of the players which is great.

"Chris Coleman was ballsy though. 20 minutes to go and he puts on two young lads and they come up with the goods," Gray told Football on 5: The Championship.

Victory ended the barren run without a win on home soil.

Gray added: "364 days without a home win and I think you sensed that relief with the manager, the crowd and certainly the players."

Sunderland will be aiming to make it back-to-back victories when bottom-of-the-table Birmingham City visit Saturday.