Sunderland have set the standard now and Jack Ross says there won’t be any let-up in the quest for promotion.
The 3-0 victory over Southend United was the fourth straight win and third straight clean sheet.
The Black Cats are unbeaten in seven League One games and are now just three points off leaders Portsmouth with a game in hand.
The relentless nature of the division is matched by the relentless drive by Ross to maintain standards.
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Ross said: “We broke the season down into seven game blocks after Doncaster and the improvement in the second set of seven games is remarkable in terms of not conceding as many, not conceding as many from set pieces or the opening goal or in the first 15 minutes.
“That has been a real sea change and because we have got better at that we are winning games. Our ability to create and score won’t ever be in doubt as the season goes on.”
With momentum now fully with Sunderland, consistency is key for Ross & Co.
Ross added: “It sounds very boring but it is habits, standards and demands; doing the same thing, time after time, whether it be on the training pitch or in games and it is about not dropping below them.
“It is not easy to do but the best teams are capable of doing it. There is now a group of players who understand what it takes to win games in this league and now it is about doing it time after time - driving each other on.”
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George Honeyman, Chris Maguire and Aiden McGeady scored with Jon McLaughlin and some determined defending ensuring the clean sheet.
On McLaughlin’s key saves, Ross said: “I expect him to, that is why I brought him to the club.
“To have success you need to have a goalkeeper who makes big saves, Jon is that and he will keep getting better and improving with us.
“The most pleasing thing is he is now getting those rewards with clean sheets. Defenders and goalkeepers pride themselves on it, his determination to make sure he didn’t concede was evident.”