Jack Ross praised Will Grigg’s strength of character as he finally opened his Sunderland account in the 4-2 win over Gillingham to boost automatic promotion hopes.
Sunderland took an early lead through Lee Cattermole’s close range effort only for Tom Eaves to level 60 seconds later in the sixth minute.
Tom Flanagan powered Sunderland ahead only for Brandon Hanlan to level five minutes before the break.
A much-improved second half saw Sunderland home with Grigg scoring from the penalty spot in the 66th minute, having been given the ball by Aiden McGeady, who added a fourth from the spot. Luke O'Nien winning both penalties.
And Ross was delighted to see the £4million deadline day signing open his Sunderland account, Grigg celebrating in style, the relief etched on his face after a couple of glaring misses in recent games.
Ross revealed he doesn’t delegate penalty takers but was pleased to see the switch pay off, with McGeady the usual taker of spot kicks.
“I have never delegated penalty kick taking responsibility, we do a lot on set pieces but that has always been one for the players to decide on the park for various reasons, individual performances can affect wanting to take penalties.
“Aiden obviously has given the opportunity to Will, only because he knows that Will will score.
“Speaking to Will afterwards, he believes he would as well.
“I am delighted with the way it worked out, that Will has shown that strength in character and to do it in that manner.”
A weight lifted from the shoulders of Grigg following his big-money move.
Ross added: “Speaking to Will he is a balanced guy, he also has a lot of self belief. Most goalscorers who produce over the course of their careers have that.
“He has not been phased one bit. His performances have been good, I knew he would score goals.
“It is nice to get that monkey off his back, his first goal, how delighted the other players were for him.
“He has integrated himself well into the side and I have no doubt he will continue to contribute in terms of goals between now and the end of the season.”