Phil Parkinson reacts to crucial Sunderland win and explains why he's so proud of his players
Phil Parkinson spoke of his pride in his Sunderland team as they came through testing conditions to seal three valuable points against Tranmere Rovers.
Charlie Wyke’s second half header saw the Black Cats climb to fifth in the League One table, and extended their unbeaten run to nine games.
The game was played in dreadful conditions on a desperately poor pitch, and Parkinson hailed the strength of character from his players in grinding out the win.
“It was always going to be that type of game with the pitch,” Parkinson said.
“It was very difficult conditions to play football, it was windy and the pitch was heavy. It was really difficult, but I’m so proud of the boys.
“We had to dig in. It was difficult at times in the first half, we couldn’t get out, but I thought we were excellent in the second half, we mixed the game up better and Charlie went down the sides.
“We had more play in their half and it was a really valuable win for us. In terms of mentality, strength of character, all the things we asked of the lads, they delivered. It’s alright saying it, but when you come to these places you have to do it, and we did.
“It’s very difficult [to play on that pitch], as has been documented through their cup run. They’ve had a lot of games on it recently. We had to do what we had to do, it was as simple as that. It was never going to be pretty, but we had to be resilient and I felt we were.”
Sunderland had struggled to create chances and Parkinson was on the verge of making a change before Wyke struck.
He hailed his player’s ‘nous’ in seeing the game out thereafter.
“I was on the verge of making a change before the goal, but when the goal came I felt we were on top,” he said.
“We just kept it the same. It’s about game management. Away from home, it’s always about mentality and managing the game. Doing the right things, playing the ball at the right time, that’s key in these conditions. I thought we showed a lot of nous.”