PHIL PARKINSON feels last night’s high-scoring EFL Trophy win over Carlisle United completed a fine start to the season for his Sunderland side.

The Black Cats booked their place in the knockout stages of the Trophy as Chris Maguire’s double, plus additional goals from Denver Hume, Charlie Wyke and Jack Diamond, secured an entertaining 5-3 win at the Stadium of Light.

As well as winning their two EFL Trophy games to date, Sunderland have also picked up eight points from their opening four league matches, a return that leaves them in fourth position in the table.

Their lack of league goals remains a concern, but having faced some of League One’s leading lights in the opening month of the season, Parkinson has been satisfied with his side’s start.

“We’ve taken eight points from the four games, and if you add the two cup wins to that too, then I think we’ve got to be pleased,” said the Sunderland boss. “When the fixtures came out, Oxford and Charlton away and Peterborough at home were obviously tough fixtures. We’ve got to be pleased with the return of points.

“We feel we should have won the Bristol Rovers game in particular, but to be unbeaten after seven if you count the Hull cup game too, that gives us a strong platform to go into the next segment of the season.”

Last night’s game looked like being a stroll when Sunderland opened up a 4-1 lead, but Jon Mellish’s quickfire double threatened to turn the evening on its head.

Diamond’s stoppage-time strike settled things, and while Parkinson was pleased with his side’s attacking play, he will be telling his players to learn from their second-half lapse.

“I think there were important lessons for us,” he said. “At 4-1 up, it should have been game over, but we got a bit slack with and without the ball. It just shows that in football, you can never switch off and think that the job is done. We’ve got to learn that valuable lesson.”

Parkinson was especially impressed with Luke O’Nien, whose versatility was apparent once again as he slotted in seamlessly at centre-half.

“I thought Luke was tremendous,” he said. “In that left-sided centre-back slot, not only did he put in a faultless defensive performance, heading and clearing, but some of his ability to drive forward and support Denver was really great. It’s certainly given us something to think about because those two looked a real threat tonight.”

Will Grigg was absent last night, and Parkinson revealed the striker will have an X-ray later today after injuring his shin in training.