EFL pundit Sam Parkin has heaped praise on Sunderland manager Lee Johnson for the work he has done for the Black Cats so far in transforming the club’s fortunes and getting them in the thick of the promotion battle.
Johnson arrived at the Stadium of Light with some work to do to both build the Black Cats back up to a side capable of achieving promotion this season, and also to re-establish his reputation following his dismissal by Bristol City. He has certainly managed to do that so far and Sunderland were able to pick up another vital three points against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
It was a win that showed that the players are all highly motivated and working hard for Johnson to achieve automatic promotion. While it was not the best of performances, it showed that they can grind out results and with their extra quality in the shape of Aiden McGeady creating chances they can edge out those types of games.
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Speaking on EFL on Quest, Parkin suggested that Johnson has been impressed with the way he has transformed the fortunes of the Black Cats and turned around the situations of players like McGeady and Aiden O’Brien. While he also believes the decisions he has made such as January arrivals have all been right so far.
He said: “Yeah, I’ve been really impressed with him. I think the upturn in form of certain individuals, certainly the likes of Aiden McGeady with yet another assist. That’s O’Brien’s best performance today capped with a goal, another set-piece goal, but just through the core of the team as well and the signings that have been made, Sanderson and Jones have impacted it. Job well done so far.”
You can not disagree with what Parkin has stated here with Johnson having been a revelation so far at Sunderland since he took over at the Stadium of Light. He has proven to be exactly the right sort of fit for the job and the right character to come in and lift the morale of the squad after a difficult period towards the end of Phil Parkinson’s tenure.
Johnson has managed to find the right sort of system to fit the personnel he has available to him and also found a way to motivate and get consistency from the Black Cats’ best players like McGeady and Dion Sanderson. Doing that has provided them with the serious chance of going on to secure automatic promotion this term, which would not have been expected with where they were when he arrived.
The impression is that Johnson has understood the club perhaps a little more than a few of his predecessors and will be able to align the supporters with what they are seeing from the players on the field. If he can do that then Sunderland will be a powerful force of a club once again during his time in charge.