TONY MOWBRAY praised his Premier League loan stars as they helped secure Sunderland’s 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Amad Diallo, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester United, has been one of the Black Cats’ key performers for the last few weeks, and he impressed again in the ‘number ten’ role as his side claimed all three points at the Stadium of Light.

Ellis Simms, who joined Sunderland on a season-long switch from Everton in the summer, didn’t start as Ross Stewart scored a goal at either end in the first half, but he left the bench to make a match-changing impact with 11 minutes remaining.

Simms received a square ball from Dan Ballard in the first minute of stoppage time before prodding home a clinical finish with the outside of his boot.

Mowbray said: “I think Everton are just happy Ellis is playing football. It’s like Amad and Man United, I think Everton are just happy Ellis is here and playing.

“If you look at what we did at Blackburn, we had Harvey Elliot, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tosin Adarabioyo, and we helped with their development. I think if clubs send young players on loan, they want to know that they’re playing football and improving.

“Amad didn’t play a lot of football at Rangers last year, but now he’s one of our main players. I’ll be rotating him in and out as the games come thick and fast, but he’s playing and I’m sure Man United are happy with that. It’s the same with Ellis and Everton. It’s like they’re going to school really – you have to teach them about football and playing in all different kinds of games.”

As a former Blackburn manager, Mowbray would have taken special satisfaction from Sunderland’s success, which he felt was fully deserved.

He said: “Ultimately, I think we deserved the victory against a very good side. We were fairly dominant in the first half but concede from a set piece - they have four six foot three players in there and it's always difficult.

“Someone told me that they hadn't lost a game this season where they had conceded first, and so that tells you is a great effort from us to get the winner.”