LEE JOHNSON says Sunderland’s players have “set the standard” for their future performances with today’s 4-0 thrashing of Lincoln City.

The Black Cats head coach was presiding over his second league game since replacing Phil Parkinson, but was able to watch his side claim their biggest win of the season at Sincil Bank.

Charlie Wyke scored twice, with Grant Leadbitter and Jack Diamond also finding the target, and having been impressed with the way in which his players have reacted to his coaching sessions over the last seven days, Johnson will be demanding they do not allow their standards to slip.

He said: “That’s the standard now. In terms of the standards both on and off the pitch, that was a very important win. It allows the players to believe and the fans to believe.

“The bit I’m so impressed with to be honest is just how well the lads have understood the protocol.
We’ve fired in a lot of detail and terminology and, to be fair to them, they have really taken it in.

“I thought the compactness both in and out of possession really gave us the positional strength to go and break down what is a very good side.”

While they ended the day with a 4-0 win under their belt, Sunderland could easily have been two goals down in the opening 15 minutes as Brennan Johnson went clean through on goal, only to fail to hit the target on each occasion.

The Black Cats’ high pressing left them open in the early stages, but Johnson accepts there will be times when his side are exposed at the back. He is happy to accept that as long as it enables them to offer much more of a threat at the opposite end.

Johnson said: “Listen, we ain't going to draw many games in this division. I tell you that now. There's no way in a million years I'll go into any game to draw.

“We were lucky - they had two one-on-ones in the first ten minutes. We have to risk that with the high press, but knowing we can score four should give the boys that feeling that if we do make that mistake, which we will at times because I'm asking to them to be so on the front foot, then we can go and bang in three or four.”

Johnson handed Diamond his first league start of the season, and confirmed he took the youngster off at the interval to prevent him from being sent off after he picked up a yellow card in the first half.

He said: “The referee had basically said the next error (he would be off). He’s so quick, it’s not easy to decelerate when you’re running into things. It was just risk averse really, to make sure he didn’t get sent off.”

Josh Scowen also departed in the second half in obvious discomfort, but Johnson is hoping the midfielder’s injury issue is not too serious.

He said: “I think he’s (Scowen) been brilliant. He’s obviously known me from before, but I think he’s been excellent. I don’t know (how bad it is). He just felt some shooting pains on the muscle that goes up the side of the shin.

“Hopefully, it’s one of those where he’ll be in some pain for 24 hours and then it’ll start to ease off. He’s not sure whether it was a knock or a muscle injury. It seemed more like a knock, but we’ll have to wait and see.”