Lee Johnson readily admitted that Sunderland were not at their best but was delighted for Charlie Wyke as his hat-trick lifted them to a 3-0 away win over AFC Wimbledon.
Wyke opened the scoring in the seventh minute before completing his hat-trick with two late strikes as the Black Cats continued their push for a play-off spot.
And while Johnson was unimpressed by the attitude of his team in the first half, Wyke’s finishing more than made up for it in the end.
Johnson said: “It definitely wasn’t a game full of top-class guile and skill, we didn’t quite get enough patterns of play going.
“You have to give credit to Wimbledon on that, the way they went man for man and shut us down at every opportunity.
“I felt in the first half we didn’t show a top attitude, I was a little frustrated, I don’t like it when we show dissent to our own players or even to themselves.
“It wasn’t a scrappy win in the end, but up to 70 minutes you could have watched the game, not known the score and thought it was even-stevens.
“I’m delighted for Charlie (Wyke), like any striker he’s had to work his socks off, battered from pillar to post by the two centre-halves and he’s dealt with it, and he earned his opportunities, I thought he could have scored five.
“He’ll be delighted, and we’re delighted for him, but it’s what we expect.”
AFC Wimbledon, meanwhile, remain in the drop zone after this loss, and boss Glyn Hodges knows his team are in a difficult spot despite a committed performance.
He said: “Collectively the attitude, the application, they want to do well, the energy – they’ve got legs, it’s just sometimes it’s just concentration or trying too hard and they’ll try things.
“It’s a simple game, sometimes we overcomplicate things. They’ll learn on the job and they’ve done brilliant so far, we’re just in a sticky patch at the moment.
“There were three errors and a lack of concentration, but when you’re 1-0 down at home and we’re trying to chase the game you can get caught on the sucker punch like the last two goals. I’m disappointed that we didn’t create enough ourselves.
“I’m proud of the boys, when you’re playing against Sunderland and the resources they’ve got and go toe-to-toe with them – we should have won up there and we’re kicking ourselves for that – and this time we didn’t hit those heights, but we can still compete.
“The scoreline doesn’t reflect it and the boys are feeling sorry for themselves. But we’ve got to smarten up, there’s things that we could have avoided and it’s disappointing.”
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