Dickman Reaction: "The Lads have set the standard"

Sunderland under-23 boss Elliott Dickman was pleased with his side’s effort in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City at Harrison Park.

The Lads conceded a first-half goal but bounced back in the second through a stunning Jake Hackett free kick.

They could easily have won the game but were left to rue missed chances and poor decision making in the final third.

Dickman though, was happy with his side's performance despite failing to get all three points.

“I am really pleased with the result. They are not a bad side; they do things right. I thought we were good, and I thought we deserved the win on the balance of play. 

“We have worked on a number of things over the last six weeks and one of the things is how we play out of possession. 

“There are three or four key areas we have been looking at and one of them is to press high up the pitch. 

“It was pleasing to see that the players were using their initiative on the pitch to put the Stoke defence under pressure because they looked uncomfortable with the ball in their own half. 

“We are pleased with the lads because they were able to create a substantial amount of chances because of their pressing work.”

The equaliser for Sunderland was a stunning strike from midfielder Hackett and the boss was delighted with his strike.

“There are a few lads who like to take the free-kicks but to be fair to Jake Hackett and Jack Diamond are usually the takers. Benji likes to take some and he scored a couple last year. 

“But the free-kick Jake scored was superb. I thought that because of where the ball was, he was going to be able to whip the ball round the wall and I am really pleased that he showed his quality there to get us an important goal.

“I think it is a good point. The Lads have set the standard and they deserve a lot of credit. 

He continued: “They are the ones who are working hard everyday and we as coaching staff are there just to try and guide them on the right path and keep standards high. 

“The performance was great and if everybody stays in this squad then we could well have a very successful season.”

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