Conor McLaughlin's honest assessment of Sunderland spell so far and why he'll keep improving
After a cup win at Accrington Stanley, Jack Ross admitted he was not being fair on Conor McLaughlin.
McLaughlin had not had much senior football for a long spell at Millwall and in the opening weeks of the season was being played out of position.
Performances, perhaps not surprisingly, suffered as a result.
Now McLaughlin’s improving form in his natural position is allowing Luke O’Nien to thrive further forward.
The Northern Irishman makes no excuses for his early season form, adamant that he could have performed better, but his ease on his stronger side is obvious and he believes he will only get better.
“It's always better when you play in your natural position but when you come to a club like this you play wherever you're asked, you're just delighted to play,” he said.
“Hopefully I'm starting to get a bit of rhythm at right-back.
“It's difficult to play out of position but I've played there before and I've played better than that, so I could have done a better job there. The more games I get now, if I can keep putting in performances and improving I'll be happy enough.
“I'm happy enough to play wherever I'm asked and I hadn't had regular game-time for a long time before that.
“I was frustrated with my own performances but I knew if I kept ticking away getting some games I'd play myself into it and I'm happy enough with my last two performances so hopefully I can kick on now because I know I can step up again.”
McLaughlin has been part of an impressive defence in a big week, and says Joel Lynch and Laurens De Bock are making a big impact.
“They've been calm heads, they're experienced players and they're composed on the ball,” he said.
“They've fitted in really well.
“[Joel] wins all his headers and he's got a calm head so he's settled the rest of us down when needed, especially in the second half when we weren't playing the way we did in the first half. That happens in this league, teams are going to have spells so it can't be all one-way traffic.
“It was a positive day with three points.”