Phil Parkinson admits he could not have wished for a better start to life on Wearside as his first home match as Sunderland manager ended in a 5-0 win over Tranmere.
Having watched his new side crash to a 1-0 defeat at Wycombe at the weekend, Parkinson had demanded a reaction as he made his bow at the Stadium of Light.
His players responded, serving up Sunderland’s biggest win since the final day of the 2006-07 season courtesy of goals from Duncan Watmore, Chris Maguire, Lynden Gooch, Will Grigg and Luke O’Nien.
Parkinson said: “It’s important, I feel that. You always want to get off and running as a manager, and to do it in the way we’ve done it tonight is obviously a great boost for everybody.
“I’m so pleased for the lads because they worked exceptionally hard and they earned that win. I’m just pleased because we’d spoken about getting the balance right between being in possession and keeping the ball, but being effective as well and making the opposition back four work. I felt we did that tonight, and looked a very dangerous team at times.
“It was incredible. The supporters were great. They were right with us from the start, I could feel it, and ultimately the supporters want to see effort and commitment, but they want to see goalmouth action as well. I felt we gave them that tonight and they responded brilliantly for us.
“It can only help with the confidence. Results haven’t been as good as expected recently, so it was very important to get back to winning ways. But it is about performance level too, and I felt the lads did exactly what we asked them to do. There were some very good individual performances tonight.”
Tranmere boss Micky Mellon was frustrated at the defensive lapses that contributed to his side’s heavy defeat.
Rovers conceded three goals in the space of 15 first-half minutes as their defence collapsed, and Mellon took full responsibility for his side’s failings.
He said: “I have to be careful because at the end of the day I want everybody to know that as the manager I take responsibility for performances, so I take responsibility for the way we defended.
“I work with them on the training ground all the time, but some of the defending tonight was not good enough. We got ourselves into areas to defend in one-against-one situations, or defend against runners, but we weren’t able to do it.
“We’ll have to keep working on it and trying to improve so that when we do come to places like Sunderland, we are able to defend better and give ourselves a chance of being competitive in the game. The goals that we gave away, playing at this level and at a massive club like Sunderland, we have to be better.”