Lee Johnson says Sunderland’s victory at Ipswich Town is a ‘massive result’ as he saw his side notch back-to-back league wins for the first time since he took charge.

Charlie Wyke’s goal in first half injury time was enough to give the Black Cats all three points at Portman Road, coming on the back of Sunderland’s weekend win at home to Shrewsbury – when Wyke again scored the only goal of the game.

Not only was it was it the first time Johnson had won back-to-back league games since he took over, but it was Sunderland’s first since early November.

Sunderland played for 80 minutes against ten men after Kayden Jackson was sent off for a horror challenge on Bailey Wright, but the Wearsiders still had to find a way to break down the Tractor Boys’ defence.

“It’s a massive result and it completes back-to-back wins,” said Johnson.

“It was a bit edgy, the sending off in the first half was pivotal, but they [Ipswich] did really well because they forced us into central, straight passes and we took the bait.

“It took us until half-time to settle the lads both emotionally and in terms of the team shape.

“We told them they needed more width, to feel the five zones across the pitch, and to manage the game a bit better.

“I’d have liked to have scored a second goal – if you don’t, it always makes it a little bit hairy in the last five or ten minutes because they can throw caution to the wind.

“But generally we saw the game out well with good possession, and it was another clean sheet.

“We have got quality, we have got that movement in the box now, the timing is good, and that has been consistent over the last five or six games.

“You have to remember how many ups and downs we have had with Covid and all that, so what we have to do now is build something.

“ Lynden Gooch turned up today just 11 days after he had tested positive – we hadn’t seen him at all beforehand.

“He came on but of course he was a bit rusty, and Luke O’Nien came on and got a few more minutes.

“Sometimes the entertainment suffers just because of how many games there are.

“It’s hard to be sharp as a tack when there is a game every three days, but we can’t complain because we have got a big squad, we have got a good squad, and there’s a couple to come back in Will Grigg and Tom Flanagan reasonably soon.”

Sunderland remain seventh in the table, a point outside the play-off places but with two games in hand of sixth-placed Charlton Athletic.

But the Black Cats are also now just six points behind Hull City in the second automatic promotion place, and they have a game in hand of the Tigers, with the last two results making a big difference to the way the league table looks from Sunderland’s point of view.

Johnson said: “You have to win games. A lot of the things that we do well are things that people won’t think about because it is the detail rather than anything.

“It’s the times we slide the ball up the channel, the small movements, we’re definitely not at full slickness at the moment but in this league you don’t get it all your own way.

“We have to be able to win games of football a number of ways and in the last couple we showed that we can dog it, as well as play when we need to.”

Influential centre-back Bailey Wright was able to continue after Jackson’s nasty challenge, but he was eventually forced off in the second half after being caught in the face by sub Aaron Dinan.

Johnson said: “Bailey took a bit of a whack in the mush.

“His lips are really swollen and bleeding, but I don’t think it was anything higher – it was a bump in the mouth, rather than the head, so hopefully he will recover and be fine and there won’t be any concussion.”

Johnson started new signing Carl Winchester in midfield but Jackson’s early dismissal meant a change to a more attacking formation and that, plus the fact that Winchester had been booked in the first period, meant Elliot Embleton replaced him at half-time.

Johnson said of his decision: “The booking was a big part of it.

“Another part of it was that as soon as they had the man sent off, I switched to 4-4-2 and right midfield is not Carl’s position.

“I wanted to stay in that shape, get some more natural width, and I also didn’t want to give the ref the chance to even it up.”

And of his preference to bring on Embleton ahead of Diamond in that role, he added: “It was just about having that intricate player in the pocket, with Elliot.

“He’s two-footed, he can receive with his left foot and come in on his right.

“Sometimes it is just horses for courses, and Jack is now fresh for the next one.

“I’ve been really pleased with Jack, he has done fantastically well, he is ours and I want to keep him for a very long time.”