Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has acknowledged that perseverance has been the key to unlocking the potential of his side after a tricky start to the season.

The Black Cats secured a morale-boosting 3-0 win over West Ham at the weekend to move themselves away from the bottom three. Adam Johnson, who joined the Wearside club from Manchester City last August, scored his third goal in eight Barclays Premier League games on an afternoon that also saw Sebastian Larsson and James McClean net their first and second goals of the season.

England winger Johnson in particular had looked to be struggling to find his feet in the north east, but O'Neill hopes his faith in the 25-year-old is finally starting to pay off following a strong performance at the weekend. "I've said this before that Adam has found it difficult," O'Neill said.

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