Lee Johnson knows he is expected to deliver promotion - but insists Sunderland's new owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has not added to the pressure on his shoulders.

A poor run of results in April saw the Black Cats' automatic promotion challenge peter out after they had manouevered themselves to within striking distance of the top two, but they have secured a play-off place which means they have a second chance at getting out of League One.

After losing in the play-off final two years ago, and then seeing the Covid crisis end their chances last season, the prospect of another hard luck tale does not bear thinking about.

But when Louis-Dreyfus took over in February he said that while promotion this season was the focus, he said that there had to be a long-term plan for turning around the club's fortunes and added 'we cannot panic in case we fall short this year'.

"We all want to win in equal measure," said Johnson, when asked if he felt under pressure from the owner to achieve promotion.

"It's not going to bust the club if we don't go up, but there's no doubt that we are all focused on winning the [play-off] mini-tournament.

"Has Kyril put pressure on me? No. I don't feel there is pressure on me because we have been working as a collective - not in terms of team selection, but in terms of making decisions together for the benefit of the football club.

"And I always see pressure as a privilege, anyway.

"No-one can put more pressure on you than you are willing to accept, so it's a false emotion really.

"I put pressure on myself because I want to do well, and I want to deliver for the fans, for the players, for the staff, and for everyone associated with the club.

"There's always an element of ego if you want to be a successful manager or head coach, but you also have to consider that you are a very, very small piece in the big picture."

Sunderland round off their regular season against already-relegated Northampton Town tomorrow lunchtime.

They will be joined in the play-offs by Lincoln, Blackpool, and one of Portsmouth, Oxford or Charlton.

But they will have to wait until after the final round of fixtures to discover their semi-final opponents.