LEE Johnson was happy to banish the demons of the hammering defeat against Portsmouth after yesterday's hard fought win against Gillingham.

In a tense and nervy affair at the Priestfield Stadium, the Black Cats battled to a 2-1 win over Gillingham, despite playing the final 25 minutes of the game with ten men after Elliot Embleton’s straight red card.

It was a hard fought win that saw Tom Flanagan and Aiden O’Brien get on the scoresheet.

O’Brien found the equaliser just before the half time whistle after an unconvincing first 45 minutes and when Johnson was asked by the media about his half time team talk, he said: “I was bubbling inside, there’s no doubting that.

“I’m not sure whether I’d have portrayed that to the players because at the end of the day, the manager’s job is to find tactical advice to help them.

“Sometimes it’s a bit of a gee up but you can’t use that every week. I used it in the Portsmouth game because it wasn’t good enough.

“That game (Portsmouth) shouldn’t have been played. I sent clips to the referees and 45 miles up the road, there was a game called off and the ball was moving miles better.

“Ridiculous that it was played but we probably caused ourselves problems by being 3-0 down so early but it is what it is. It’s done now.”

Sunderland were well on top in the early proceedings of the second half and deservedly took the lead when Flanagan rose highest at the back post to nod the ball home.

Just as the Black Cats were starting to purr, Embleton’s red card meant it was backs against the wall for the remainder of the game which also saw Thorben Hoffman pull out the stops to keep Gillingham at bay.

While the first half was one to forget, the manager was pleased that his team showed different sides  to their game to grind out the victory.

Johnson said: “I wasn’t happy with the detail on our pass. That’s what I wasn’t happy with.

“Rather than change the picture by keep bouncing and moving the ball, I thought we got sucked into playing slow football due to the pitch, due to the formation, due to what we had on the pitch and how we played.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got 96 minutes normally and in the end, we found enough heart and enough character to win it.”