Sunderland show their class on and off the field on a big afternoon for Phil Parkinson
It was a big afternoon for Phil Parkinson and Sunderland against Wycombe – but lessons can be taken from the clash?
Here’s three key conclusions from the 4-0 win over the early pace-setters:
Sunderland show their class - on and off the field
While the stunning performance showed the best of the Black Cats, so too did the commemoration of George Baker’s years of service highlight the club’s fine off-field work.
Baker, who recently decided to retire after working for the club for 60 years, was honoured with a guard of honour as he entered the stadium before being greeted by rapturous applause as he entered the field of play with the matchball.
Milestones such as this can often go unnoticed, so kudos to Sunderland for ensuring a loyal servant to the club got the send-off he deserved.
Phil Parkinson and his staff deserve plenty of praise
A month ago, Sunderland looked to be on the road to nowhere.
They had no clear style of play, couldn’t buy a win and were struggling for form and confidence.
But in the space of a few weeks, the Black Cats have turned a corner and are now playing some of the most attractive and entertaining football seen at the Stadium of Light in recent years.
Indeed, they look a completely different outfit to that which was turning out before Christmas.
Parkinson deserves credit for that, and so too do his staff - most notably Nick Allamby. Sunderland look fitter, faster and stronger than in previous month, and that owes a lot to the highly-regarded fitness coach.
Sunderland’s silent star gets his rewards
While a number of players have grabbed the headlines for their performances in recent weeks, the work of Charlie Wyke has gone somewhat unnoticed.
Although his goal return may not reflect it, he is arguably going through his best spell at the Stadium of Light with a string of strong displays in recent weeks.
Yes, he probably should have netted more than one he did against Wycombe - having missed two golden chances either side of the break - but it was pleasing to see him get his rewards in front of goal with a well-taken first.