Lee Johnson delivers this verdict on Sunderland's encouraging Plymouth win and what pleased him most

Lee Johnson said it was a 'massive' step forward as Sunderland ended their winless run and book their play-off spot at Plymouth Argyle.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 6:18 pm

The Black Cats now have a rare midweek without a fixture and the Head Coach says that will be crucial for his side.

He insists he is happy to face any side in the play-offs and hailed a 'really good' 3-1 win at Home Park.

"It's massive," he said.

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Chris Maguire celebrates his goal at Home Park
Chris Maguire celebrates his goal at Home Park

"It wasn't a relief as such because I always had the belief that we would do it. The relief is that it's now, 'right, bang, here we go'.

"That's genuinely how I feel.

"The boys are desperate for the mental rest and we can actually enjoy a performance going into the Northampton game now.

"I don't care who we play, so there'll be no cleverness from us.

"We just have to do what's right for us and then come out the traps like greyhounds when it's time for the play-offs.

"I want us to finish as high as possibly can but we don't mind how we play, so we won't be tactical about that."

Without Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady Sunderland still manage to create a significant number of chances, which pleased Johnson.

"I thought we were really good in patches," he said.

"It was a different front four today, very mobile, and I think that showed on two or three occasions which was good.

"It was a bit scruffy at times in our build-up play, we spent a bit too much time looking for something and got it nicked off us a couple of times.

"But generally we were in control, and I think we had something like 24 or 25 shots today, we hit the woodwork a couple of times as well, and peppered their flanks which was good.

"Mainly what I was pleased with was the attitude today because we could have been nervy still, Plymouth are a good side - they had Grant back for example, who is a good player, their front two are dangerous - so it was always going to be a tricky one.

"We dealt with it really well, apart from the 15 minutes or so when they had a spell and we conceded - that was the bit we need to snuff out.

"There were so many positives though.

"Jack Diamond was good in the first half, Ross Stewart was good, Conor McLaughlin got 45 minutes, Bailey Wright today looked like the Bailey Wright I know and love.

"We can now take three days off away from football, because it has been a monstrous run of games.

"No team in the land has had to play as many games as we have had to just recently, with the cup run as well.

"It was good to get Chris Maguire on as well after some good training performances, and he scored his goal.

"Gooch was outstanding as well, you could go through almost all the team and say it was very steady.

"There was a lot of good football played and I bet if you condensed it and put the highlights together, there would be about 25 minutes.

"I was happy and I thought it was a well-deserved win."

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