Faith in flair has finally got Sunderland looking up the table following victory over West Ham

Sunderland 3 West Ham United 0

It has taken time, but Adam Johnson believes the patience shown by Martin O'Neill in Sunderland's flair players is finally paying dividends.

O'Neill loyally stood by Johnson, Stéphane Sessègnon and James McClean through a troubled spell earlier in the season. Johnson, the £10m summer signing from Manchester City, took time to settle at his new club, not helped by injury. McClean and Sessègnon failed to spark and it was left to Steven Fletcher to plough a lone furrow as Sunderland slipped down the Premier League.

O'Neill doggedly resisted calls for change and four wins in their last seven Premier League games, including Saturday's 3-0 victory against West Ham, in which, after Seb Larssson had scored early, both Johnson and McClean found the net, has brought vindication.

"We're looking to the top half, not below," said Johnson. "Let's see if we can forget about the teams below us now. I think getting to know each other better could be one of the things. I think it's been hard with everyone coming in. It's been a massive change for the club. There was a lot of expectancy on the club and I think we took a bit of time, but if we can keep performing like that we won't be too worried.

"We looked threatening and we cut them open so many times; everything clicked for us. It took us a bit of time with new players but I think you're starting to see the benefits now of having a few games with each other. The most important thing is we created chances. If we're creating them, they don't mind so much people missing them.

"I think I've started more games for Sunderland probably than I did in the whole of last season. I think that tells you the story. My game is definitely benefiting from that. I feel much better physically."

Manager O'Neill added: "I possibly have persevered with one or two players. In my defence, maybe we didn't have that many alternatives. Sessègnon was excellent for us [on Saturday] without scoring a goal and Steven Fletcher, without scoring a goal, led the line brilliantly. We played very well. What is the difference? Deep down, I'm not exactly sure. There was more confidence about the team and that seemed to permeate to the crowd as well."

Senegal defender Kader Mangane will have a medical ahead of a proposed season-long loan move to Sunderland from Rennes.

Allardyce: Tomkins staying put

Sam Allardyce has admitted the defensive injury crisis at West Ham means he will not let James Tomkins leave during the January transfer window.

Tomkins has again been linked with a possible move to Newcastle but Allardyce – already missing defenders George McCartney and Joey O'Brien – lost his first-choice centre-half James Collins to a hamstring injury in Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Sunderland.

"We have never been in a position to sell anybody and we don't want to," said the West Ham manager. "We want to increase the size of the squad, not decrease it and sell anybody. It was less likely James was going to leave in the first place, even less likely now.

"Now we only have two centre-halves left, James and Winston Reid, and we have a 19-year-old at full-back because we have no one else, so I need two in if I am honest. I have been looking for a left-back for the last 10 days."

Allardyce revealed he may renew his efforts to sign Martin Olsson, the Blackburn full-back. Rovers have so far rejected an offer believed to be around £3m.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
filmCritic Kaleem Aftab picks his favourites for Halloween
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballBeating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Life and Style
Google's doodle celebrating Halloween 2014
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes