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Lee Johnson has revealed Sunderland targeted Sheffield Wednesday high defensive line in their comprehensive win at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats ended 2021 in style, cruising to a 5-0 win to end the Owls’ 12-match unbeaten run.

Striker Ross Stewart claimed his first Sunderland hat-trick, with Callum Doyle and Benji Kimpioka also getting on the scoresheet.

Johnson said the result was “very pleasing”.

“The boys have dug on on heavy pitches and been really professional,” he said.

“We didn’t start well, they were the better side in the first ten minutes and the goal was a bit against the run of play.

“But we recognised their high line and that was the key when you’ve got Ross Stewart and Leon Dajaku running off the back of people.

“The pleasing thing was we learned our lessons from the last game.

“I’m always looking at that when we get these little tests.

“We had to earn the right, have a really powerful position of strength to then go and create. I felt we could have been better even when we were 3-0 up.”

Roared on by a boisterous home crowd, victory moved Sunderland to the top of the table.

He said: “We tweaked a couple of things from that Rotherham game and of course the Sheffield Wednesday game, I won’t go too tactical but I was very pleased with what the players were able to implement after what was a lot of studying,” he added.

“We felt we needed a plus one that we didn’t quite have [in the reverse fixture].

“They’re simple tweaks, and the lads will have to cope again when we play Wycombe next.

“We’re going to need that warrior spirit that we had tonight, and that means we can show our footballing ability. When we do that, we look a really good side.”

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