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Darron Gibson on the key decision by Sunderland boss Chris Coleman that inspired victory over Fulham

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.
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Darron Gibson has praised manager Chris Coleman for his "brave" substitutions which helped seal victory over Fulham.

With the game on a knife-edge with 20 minutes to play, Coleman withdrew Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan and replaced them with Joel Asoro and matchwinner Josh Maja.

It proved an inspired move, with Maja hitting the winning goal within five minutes of coming on. Gibson, who enjoyed his best game yet in a Sunderland shirt in a man of the match performance, hailed the move.

"It was well deserved but we have waited a long time for a home win," said Gibson.

"We needed to build on the performance at Wolves and we did that. We kicked on against Fulham.

"The manager was brave with his substitutions at 0-0.

"The lads that came on did very well and Josh Maja got his goal, which is great for him.

"Overall, this was a great result.

"It is great for Josh and it gives the manager another option up front."

Victory over Fulham was built on a solid defensive platform, the Black Cats recording their third clean sheet in five under Coleman.

Ex-Everton midfielder Gibson believes Sunderland have become harder to beat.

He added: "Since the new manager has come in he has changed the shape and we are working hard for each other. It is paying off.

"They had a lot of possession but we were comfortable defensively, it felt comfortable on the pitch. The lads have really pulled together and hopefully we can keep winning."