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Chris Coleman admitted it was a relief to see Sunderland finally registering an overdue home win, but he is adamant they have a lot of hard work still ahead.
Sunderland went 364 days without a win at the Stadium of Light before edging out Fulham 1-0 on Saturday.
Coleman, who took over at the club last month, made a bold call to send on youngsters Josh Maja and Joel Asoro in the second half of a tense battle with Fulham, and the former Wales boss was rewarded when Adam Matthews fed Maja inside the box and he spun away from his marker before firing into the net. It was just Sunderland’s third win in 22 Championship games having been relegated last season, but it was enough to propel them out of the relegation zone.
While it was nice to get a monkey off their backs, Coleman had a stark warning for his squad. “It’s good to get the three points and put that (the run) to bed but it’s only three points, it’s not 33 points. We’re still in a bad moment, we’re still where we are,” Coleman, who began his managerial career with Fulham, told BBC Sport. “It is nice that we have got that result at home, it’s brilliant but we have still got huge challenges ahead.” Coleman said he felt sending Maja and Asoro into the fray might give Fulham a problem to solve that they wouldn’t have been expecting. “I just felt it was a good time.
They are unknown at the minute and Fulham won’t have known much about them,” he said of the double change. “It was always in my thinking to make a change towards the end of the game, especially if we needed to grab a goal.
“The way it was poised I thought it was a good time for the young boys to come on and make an impact and they did that.”