SUNDERLAND manager Chris Coleman has urged his side’s blossoming youngsters to keep their feet on the ground after their impressive showing on Saturday moved the Black Cats off the foot of the Championship table.

Despite his attempts to reduce the expectation on Ethan Robson, Josh Maja and Joel Asoro, Coleman was the first to heap praise on the talented trio for their contribution in helping the Wearsiders to a first victory in 2018.

Eighteen-year-old Asoro scored the decisive goal on Saturday that secured Sunderland a much-needed three points, as Maja, 19, had done against Fulham in December, while Robson’s high energy and determined performance in his first league start for the club went down extremely well with supporters inside the Stadium of Light.

“There’s no need for them to get carried away,” said Coleman. “We’ve had a good reaction from them, but we’ve still got a lot of hard work to do.”

“He’s (Asoro) got tools in his locker, and he’s just got to make sure he doesn’t listen to the wrong people, same for Maja, and same for Robbo.

“Don’t think you’ve made it as a professional footballer because you’ve had some game time and you’ve scored a goal. You’ve got to have the right attitude, keep working hard and keep your feet on the floor and they’ll be fine.”

That attitude and work ethic was on display throughout Saturday afternoon, and justified Coleman’s decision to put such faith in his youngsters, with more than half of his starting line-up aged 23 or under.

“Needs must,” he admitted. “Before the game, you’re thinking you want a bit of experience, and it is hard for Robbo to come in and make his home debut.

“But when he got through it and he played like that, you think it is fantastic, and that will make him much better for that.

“But they need help these players, we can’t think we can go from now until the end of the season with these young players and win games week in and week out, because it is not fair. We still need to support the players we’ve got by adding more bodies.”

Asoro was quick to return the compliments from his manager, admitting he was “really happy” playing under the Welshman.

“The manager said to us, when you go out there, you have to be like men,” said the Swedish teenager. “You can’t say if you’re playing badly, it’s just because you are young.

“You can’t do that because then he wouldn’t put us on the pitch. If people see you’re working hard they will say you deserve a chance to prove yourself.

“We (him and Maja) talked a bit (before the game) but not too much, we knew what we needed to do.

“We just said, ‘Be ready’. We know how to play with each other, we’ve played together for two years now so we understand each other so well.

“It did (feel like an Under-23s’ game) with so many of us playing. We have that connection, we know where each other is going to be when certain things happen.

“We’re very good friends, that will motivate us to push each other on.”

Coleman admitted straight after Saturday’s game that the Black Cats had reached an agreement with another club for a player and were “waiting for an answer” from him. That player is understood to be Derby forward Chris Martin, although Reading have also agreed terms with the Rams and are hoping to pull off a deal of their own.

“We are not playing next weekend so I can get back into phone calls and speaking to people and bring reinforcements in,” he said. “We do need reinforcements in.

“We were brilliant today, all the players deserve all the plaudits they get, but we need some help, we need strength in depth.”

Despite his match-winning performance, Asoro didn’t begrudge his manager for wanting to strengthen the squad.

“You need to see it as a positive,” he said. “The manager sees how good we are in training, what we can do. When he gives us the chance we can only give the best we can.”