Sunderland boss delivers this verdict on Leon Dajaku's full debut

Lee Johnson praised Leon Dajaku for an 'excellent' full Sunderland debut.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 6:00 am

Dajaku completed 70 minutes as the Black Cats secured their place in the last sixteen of the Carabao Cup with an excellent 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic.

The winger came close to opening his account in the first half, and linked up well with his team-mates in an encouraging start to life on Wearside.

"I thought he was excellent," Johnson said.

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Leon Dajaku in action for Sunderland

"You can see the way he brings others into play, with that football intelligence.

"He worked hard for us and was bright. He could have scored a couple. I've seen him strike those ones in the second half inside the post and he maybe could have been a bit more selfish there. In the first half it's a great touch to put him 1-v-1, and unfortunately he's just made the wrong decision.

"I thought he looked alright [fitness wise], I probably could have kept him on to be honest.

"He's had to work really hard the last few weeks and it's really nice that he's been able to make a good first impression."

Johnson also praised Alex Pritchard for another encouraging display, as he pushed his claims for a place in the league starting XI.

It was Pritchard's through ball that led to Nathan Broadhead's opener in the first half, and the head coach believes Pritchard is up to match fitness.

“He’s [Pritchard] got up to that fitness level now, hasn’t he," he said.

"You couldn’t get the ball off him in a phone box, could you?

"He’s so good with his feet, and you can’t underestimate how much that drains the opponent because you think you’ve got him, but then all of a sudden he touches it away and you’ve either got to foul him, which buys us time, or he skips out of trouble and breaks the line and then next time you think, ‘I’ve got to over-cover’.

"It’s just having that intelligence on the pitch to be able to pick out a spare player, and that is what we have got very good at through a lot of hard work in training."

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