Dons are 'better than league position suggests' says Sunderland boss
Phil Parkinson said MK Dons should be higher up the League One table than they are after his Sunderland side left Stadium MK with a hard-fought 1-0 win.
Lynden Gooch's sensational strike with 11 minutes to go was enough to separate the sides in a game without many clear-cut chances.
Though Dons controlled the first period, the Black Cats looked the more dangerous in the second, with two efforts cleared off the line before the goal. Alim Ozturk also missed a sitter late on which would have made it more comfortable for the away side.
Speaking afterwards, Parkinson paid tribute to Dons, saying: "I genuinely think they are a much better team than their league position suggests because they have a lot of good players.
"You have to win all types of games to be a successful team. Today was more of a resilient performance, because when you have had the wins we have had teams are going to respect you more and set things up to make it as difficult as possible for you.
“We felt that the shape of their team was giving us a few too many problems in the first half, and we adjusted one or two areas tactically at half-time.
“It was a moment of real quality from Lynden. I had a good chat with him in the hotel this morning about how he has done since he came into the team but I want him to push on again, not just accept the pats on the back that have come his way because he is a very good player and he has to keep on taking his game to another level."
Former Don Tom Flanagan was an unused substitute on his return to Stadium MK, but there was no room in the Sunderland 18 for Will Grigg, whose goals helped Dons to promotion to the Championship in 2014/15. Instead, new signing Kyle Lafferty got the nod ahead of him to be a part of the team.
Parkinson added: "It was just a call between Lafferty and Grigg and I just felt that Lafferty coming to the club might just have that spring in his step, but Will has been great in the dressing room before and after the game, congratulating everyone.
“It’s tough when you have to make a call like that but, unfortunately, you can only pick seven subs."