The key factors behind Sunderland's impressive season under Tony Mowbray - including ex-Celtic ace

When Alex Neil left for Stoke City back in August many fans were sceptical about the season ahead, and many weren’t too thrilled about the prospect of Middlesbrough legend Tony Mowbray taking over.
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However, with the season coming to a close, it’s safe to say Mowbray has done what was asked and more. His side still have a chance of reaching the play-offs. A brilliant achievement considering Sunderland spent the last four years in League One AND their striking woes this season.

Mowbray has the Black Cats playing some outstanding free-flowing attacking football, Jack Clarke’s goals away to Reading and in the recent draw with Hull are two of many brilliant goals they’ve scored this season.

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One of the main things Mowbray has done well in his time at the club is integrating the younger players into the first team squad – albeit he hasn’t had much choice.

Sunderland head coach Tony Mowbray.Sunderland head coach Tony Mowbray.
Sunderland head coach Tony Mowbray.

Sunderland have the youngest squad in the Championship filled with talent both locally and from abroad.

In the summer, the club brought in a lot of younger players and fans on Wearside wanted them thrown into the limelight to see what they had to offer.

However, ‘Mogga’ bided his time and only gave them cameo appearances from the bench to begin with. Now towards the end of the season, we are seeing the benefits of this, with the likes of Edouard Michut becoming an ever-present in the side.

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Patrick Roberts had been another beneficiary of Mowbray’s appointment. He already knew the tricky winger from his time at Celtic and he couldn’t believe his luck to be with him on Wearside.

He has claimed on several occasions that Roberts is too good for this level, which he is proving, averaging a 7.15 rating this season according to Once he forced his way into the team, he and Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo formed a brilliant partnership on the right-hand side for Sunderland.

The pair have been a joy to watch this season and fans will be hoping Mowbray can bring through another younger player in Isaac Lihadji to replace Diallo’s talent next season.