Lee Johnson reacts to 'magnificent' show of Sunderland support and explains why it will be key
Lee Johnson has hailed Sunderland's 'magnificent support' and says the club must harness it as they bid for promotion out of League One this season.
The Black Cats returned for pre-season training on Monday morning ahead of the new campaign, for which over 21,000 season cards are understood to have already been sold.
With Sunderland facing a fourth campaign in League One, Johnson says created a bond between the squad and that support will be crucial.
He says that the play-off semi final at the Stadium of Light, in which Sunderland almost turned around a two-goal deficit against Lincoln City in front of 10,000 returning fans, needs to be the template moving forward.
"It's just magnificent really," Johnson told safc.com.
"The potential, as we said on day one.
"I've been involved in some big clubs since I started out as a senior player but that's the biggest really.
"That's got to aid our charge and it's the thing that could make us really successful.
"I think the hardest thing at Sunderland is a) to create the cause because there's a lot of understandable pressure on the players, and also there's got to be that protection.
"However we can create that siege mentality, from the fanbase to the board, to the playing staff and coaching staff, really is the strength and power of the club.
"The players have to feel like they're trusted, loved and protected to then go and execute the game that we want to.
"And I think that game will be super exciting throughout the season. I think the first half of that second leg against Lincoln City was a glimpse of that, and the power of the fans to enhance that.
"We've got to replicate that over 96 minutes for 46 games, and of course that's the challenge.
"It won't always go to plan but we'll be consistent in our style and approach to the game, and hopefully our energy and our fitness."
Sunderland are set to begin their league campaign at home to Wigan Athletic on August 7th.
Leam Richardson's side have been ambitious in the transfer market this summer and bolstered their ranks again this morning by signing former Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Ben Amos.