Lee Johnson delivers his verdict on superb Doncaster win and has this message for Sunderland

Lee Johnson hailed an 'absolutely outstanding' first half from his Sunderland side after they sealed an impressive 4-1 win over Doncaster Rovers.

Saturday, 13th February 2021, 5:40 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th February 2021, 5:40 pm

Charlie Wyke scored a remarkable four goals, all of them assisted by an inspired Aiden McGeady, as the Black Cats climbed back into the play-off places.

Johnson said his side benefited from a 'high risk, high reward' strategy as their aggressive pressing game overwhelmed the visitors at the Stadium of Light.

"I thought the first half was absolutely outstanding in our press against a very good side," he said.

Aiden McGeady produced a superb display at the Stadium of Light in a 4-1 win

"You can see in the second hald when Doncaster had their spells that they are a very good side. We had to expend a lot of energy early with that high press, it was high risk and high reward and we certainly got that.

"I was really proud of the players today.

"After a loss like Tuesday you feel the magnitude of the club, you feel the message from the outside and I think it's really important that we manage that message internally, that we maintain the belief.

"It was a big game today but they all are, and we've really capitalised on an opportunity today even if Doncaster still have games in hand on us.

"We've got to just keep chipping away, improving our performance, there are bits in the second half that we need to go back and look at it.

"But the effort from everybody and the skill in the first half put us in the margins where we could take risks."

The head coach said McGeady's superb contribution was a reward for his performances in recent weeks, noting that the lack of supporters to give him a standing ovation as he left the field was the only downside of the afternoon.

Johnson also had praise for Wyke as he climbed to the top of the League One scoring charts, while Lee Burge also saved two penalties on his recall to the starting XI.

"It was vintage McGeady," he said.

"At the same time, he's been pretty consistent for us. His numbers have been good, his physical numbers have been good.

He's been good to work with, he's always challenging but that's what you expect from someone who has had a career like his.

"Then you have Charlie with four goals to put himself top of the charts and Burgey with two penalty saves."

Johnson urged his side to build on the performance as they enter a crucial run of games.

"We've got to not have that little Sunderland self-sabotage element in us, and I include all of us in that," Johnson said.

"Even I was better today in that I've been getting frustrated the last couple of games, I know a got booked but that was just a momentary lapse!

"We've got to keep our cool on and off the pitch now,

"There was so much quality on the pitch today and the only sad thing for me is that the supporters weren't here to aid us with that world-famous noise.

"We've got good quality players, and the standard has been set. We haven't always matched them [previously] and that's the challenge, to have that Premier League mindset."

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