Portsmouth's bullying tactics no problem for Sunderland boss as they swat Blues aside

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Lee Johnson saluted Sunderland for the way his side handled Pompey’s bullying tactics.

And the Black Cats insisted he can see the real promotion contenders starting to come through now, as he oversaw his side’s 2-0 win at Fratton Park.

Johnson’s side were comfortable throughout and worthy winners, with the result heaping more pressure on Kenny Jackett’s men.

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The former Bristol City manager thought his team negated Pompey impressively

He told the Sunderland Echo: ‘I was really happy with that. It gave me a lot of satisfaction.

‘I thought we were so professional after we scored our first goal.

‘We made minimal mistakes defensively, and we had a lot of interaction and interplay going forward.

Lee Johnson. Picture by FRANK REIDLee Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID
Lee Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID

‘We were a difficult side to play against.

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‘Portsmouth tried to bully us, I thought. They wanted to get the ball in to their two big lads but our back two, and later back three, coped with that really well and limited them to not a lot.

‘Against a good side like Portsmouth, I think that shows that we are improving and progressing as we want to.’

The win over Pompey sees Sunderland extend their unbeaten run under Johnson to eight games, with six wins arriving at the time.

At the same time their opponent’s season continues to fall apart, with it now just a single success from their past seven outings.

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Johnson added: ‘I’ve said I think that the bigger clubs in the division will come through, and I think that’s showing now. A lot of the bigger clubs are starting to make inroads in that top six and towards the top two, including us.

‘We’ve just got to keep making sure our performances are good and that we keep building. We have to be relentless in our attitude to win football matches.

‘We’re still the challengers. What do you fight harder as, the challenger or the champion?

‘At the moment, we’re the challenger and we have to just continue with what we’re doing. If you start looking at the outcome, you can fall down. Fans and press can do what you want, that’s your prerogative, but our job internally is to make sure we keep our eye on the ball.’

A message from the editor

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On Saturday, March 13 Pompey will finally get their day at Wembley.

To celebrate the Blues’ place in the rearranged 2020 EFL Trophy Final, The News has launched an offer that gets you 25% off all our Sports subscriptions.

You can choose your perfect Sports subscription here and use the discount code ROADTOWEMBLEY25 to get the latest news from Fratton Park for less. Offer runs until midnight on March 15.

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