WINNING on Saturday has altered the complexion of Sunderland’s unbeaten start to the season, so they can now look to build on what’s been achieved so far.

They drew far more games than any other team in the division last season and the signs were ominous when they started this campaign with another two all-square finishes – ending 1-1 against both Oxford United and Ipswich Town.

Then came a 3-1 win at Accrington Stanley, however, in the Carabao Cup which the Black Cats followed up at the weekend by beating Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light.

“It’s a vital win, first one of the season and at home,” said Chris Maguire, scorer of Sunderland’s second goal in the 2-1 win. “It’s important now we go on a run and climb up the league and try and leave the draws behind.

“You want to win every football match but sometimes it doesn’t happen. A point is better than a defeat and at least you can add to the total, but sometimes you just have to accept you have can an off day.

“We’re unbeaten, we’re three games into the season and we know what we have to do. Coming off the back of last season, that’s probably what killed us, the draws, so you understand the fan frustration but today they were brilliant, got behind us and really helped us get the vital three points.

“Our spirits weren’t down, the first two games of the season you want to win but we came away with a point. We’re still unbeaten, so there’s nothing to be too down about. We got a good win in the cup on Tuesday which gave us a boost, knowing we’ve got that first win. Yes we went a goal behind today but it was great character from everyone to come back.”

Sunderland lost one league game at home in 2018-19, only top-two Luton Town and Barnsley were unbeaten on their own patch, and continuing to be a force at the Stadium of Light is clearly the aim.

Maguire added: “We want to try and turn this into a place where teams come and are scared to play here.

“The fans get on our side and you can hear the noise and atmosphere, it’s brilliant. They love people working and putting their bodies on the line like Grant Leadbitter and others did.

“We know that when they see that commitment they’ll get right behind us and it’s up to us to go and get the wins.”

Maguire, a fans’ favourite, was a Jack Ross signing in the summer of 2018 from Bury, and in his first campaign on Wearside scored in his fourth appearance of the season.

He repeated the feat on Saturday, the match being Sunderland’s fourth of 2019-20, tapping into the net after good work on the left by Marc McNulty and Aiden McGeady.

“It’s always good to open your account early and hopefully this year I can score more than I did last season,” said Maguire, who hit the net nine times in 18-19.

“Bit different getting the goal inside the six-yard box! You’ve got to just try and read the game and Aiden has got past his man.

“It’s one of them, it was a dry pitch, bobbling about a bit, and when it’s coming towards you, you have to concentrate. It’s given us a vital win but I thought all in it was a great team performance.”