Mike Dodds hailed Sunderland’s ‘professional’ performance as he secured a first win of his third spell in interim charge at the Stadium of Light with victory over Cardiff City on Good Friday.

Dodds shared his relief as Sunderland brought an end to a seven-gam run without a win in the Championship but admits his pleasure is more for his players and the supporters who made the long journey to South Wales and were able to celebrate a first away win since Boxing Day.

Adil Aouchiche scored his second goal of the season when smashing home from the penalty spot after Jobe Bellingham was adjudged to have been fouled before the Frenchman then turned provider when teeing up Jobe just before the half hour who made no mistake from inside the six-yard box to double Sunderland’s advantage.

It was a lead Dodds’ side were comfortable with, with Cardiff boss Erol Bulut labelling this as one of the Bluebirds’ worst displays of the season – Sunderland could, and perhaps should, have extended their lead in the closing stages with Abdoullah Ba, Luis Hemir and Romaine Mundle all spurning good opportunities.

But for Dodds and his side it was about bringing an end to their barren run of form, having not tasted victory since February 10 and the win over Plymouth Argyle. They did so by ensuring a second consecutive clean sheet for the first time since September and eased any lingering fears of being dragged into a relegation battle in the closing stages of the season, with the gap to the bottom four now at 12 points.

“I’m trying to be level with it all because in this position you can’t get too high with the highs and you can’t get too low with the lows,” explained Dodds.

“I think it was a real professional performance and that’s what I’ve tried to do, I’ve tried to stay really balanced looking at the performance and what the group are trying to do and what we’re asking them to do: are they trying to execute it? Fortunately today, things went our way.

“I’m more happy for the group because we’ve got a really good group and I’m more happy for the fans because I think a result makes everything feel a little bit lighter, but from my perspective I’m quite balanced with it being a really, really professional performance in and out of possession.

“When we scored the first goal we looked like we’d relaxed a lot more than what we’ve seen in previous weeks. The QPR performance I saw a really anxious team. But as soon as we scored that goal and they started to find their rhythm, I felt all the stuff we’ve been preaching behind the scenes, which I appreciate not everyone is going to see, was evident. It was a result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes.”

Dodds has consistently insisted his belief that one win could translate into a positive run of form for his side with the task now being for Sunderland to back this elusive three points up with another strong performance in the second part of their Easter weekend schedule against Blackburn Rovers.


READ MORE: Analysis: Cardiff 0-2 Sunderland: The streak is over as Sunderland end barren run of form


“It’s not been an easy period for myself or anyone because the results,” Dodds told We Are Sunderland. “But what they have given me is they’ve completely bought into the processes and every single day they’ve turned up and bought into what we’re trying to do, and I thank them for that and have reiterated how important that is going forward.

“I’ve been a little bit tough with them in terms of making sure we get a positive result on Monday because the reality is come Monday night if the result isn’t positive, everyone has forgotten about this. So we’ve got to make sure we can make that a back-to-back feeling for everyone, so I’ve put a little bit of pressure on them and that we hit similar standards and levels on Monday.”