Lee Johnson celebrated his one-year anniversary as Sunderland manager in style as his side thrashed Morecambe 5-0.
Johnson marked 12 months in the Stadium of Light hot-seat on Sunday and while his side were unable to serve up a victory at the weekend as they drew with Oxford, they turned on the style three days later to climb to third in the League One table, just two points behind leaders Rotherham.
Nathan Broadhead scored twice as Sunderland proved much too good for Morecambe, with Ross Stewart, Alex Pritchard and Leon Dajaku also finding the target.
Johnson said: “It’s always good to celebrate an anniversary, especially with a win.
“I’m very happy. We continue our trajectory and that’s us unbeaten in five now. You’re always looking for that two points a game average to get somewhere where you want to be and we’re on track for that.
“It was a tough game going into it because the pressure was on but we performed extremely well.
“They gave us a couple of warning signs in the first half but we felt like we could exploit their backline with the quality we’ve got.
“First half, I thought we could have extended our lead a bit more. In the second half, it was a case of nothing silly but we waited for the opportunities to open up and we scored some really good goals.”
Johnson reserved special praise for Broadhead, with the Everton loanee scoring a goal in each half to take his tally in a Sunderland shirt to five.
The 23-year-old had to be patient as he found himself on the fringe of things in the early weeks of the season but since forcing his way into the first team a month or so ago, he has showcased his goalscoring capabilities to impressive effect.
Johnson said: “He’s a good player. He can drive at people and he’s obviously quite flexible in his positioning. He’s a really good finisher, which you saw at Cambridge away and today for his two goals.
“He’s tactically bright as well and we’re very happy to have him. We’re pleased Everton have entrusted us with his development.
“As I said before, it was embarrassing he wasn’t in the starting XI but he’s there now and he’s getting a good run.”
Morecambe manager Stephen Robinson bemoaned his side’s defensive deficiencies as they crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season just a week and a half after shipping four goals at the hands of MK Dons.
Robinson said: “We deserve to lose 5-0 if we defend like that. The first two goals are incredible. We left ourselves a mountain to climb before the game has really started.
“We had chances, we should score but ultimately if you are going to defend like that in a stadium like this against good Championship players, then you are going to get punished.
“I am humiliated and embarrassed by the result. Our defending was criminal. They take chances at the top end and we don’t.
“There is no excuse for that defending. I know I need to make changes and some players are struggling at this level and when we make mistakes we are being punished by better players than last season.
“But it doesn’t matter what you do if you defend like we did.”