Phil Parkinson felt Sunderland’s 3-1 win over Lincoln was the perfect way to round off a successful festive period for the club.
The Black Cats scored all their goals in the first half, with Tom Flanagan heading his side into the lead before Lynden Gooch claimed two goals in the space of six minutes to effectively settle things.
Since struggling to a draw with Bolton on Boxing Day, Sunderland have claimed seven points from a possible nine from matches against Doncaster, Fleetwood and Lincoln.
They have climbed to within a point of the Sky Bet League One play-off places, with Parkinson sensing a shift in momentum ahead of next weekend’s meeting with leaders Wycombe.
The Black Cats boss said: “I’m very pleased, we blew them away really.
“We were 3-0 up at half-time and while I’m disappointed we didn’t add to that in the second half, credit to them, they changed their shape and caught us a little bit cold in the early stages of the second half.
“But in the end it was a comfortable victory, and I’m delighted with the return of points over the Christmas period.
“I thought we played some great stuff in the first half today. We were quick and slick and passed it really well. I was so pleased with our quality in possession.
“Inevitably there are some tired legs after this Christmas period, but you can take the sting out of the game with the ball, and I thought we did that really well in the first half, in particular.
“We’re building. We can still get better, but there is momentum building in the group. It’s been an excellent Christmas period for us.
“Today was pivotal because, with getting a point at Fleetwood, we needed to back that up with three today – and we were able to do that.”
Lincoln boss Michael Appleton was disappointed at the way in which his side collapsed in the first half, conceding three goals in the space of 10 minutes.
The visitors travelled to the north-east on the back of impressive wins over Ipswich and Peterborough but found themselves mounting something of a damage limitation exercise in the second half.
Appleton said: “We’ve shown spirit in the second half but I’d expect that.
“When you’re 3-0 down, you can end up losing the game by five or six and that didn’t happen. We looked the better and stronger side in the second half, but ultimately, the game had gone then.
“I was obviously disappointed with the first half, the manner of the goals is hard to legislate for.
“It’s difficult because it’s senior players making those mistakes, it’s not as though they’re young players. They’re senior players, very experienced players, so I hope it’s just a one-off and one of those crazy spells.
“It’s disappointing because we’re on the back of a couple of good wins against two of the strongest sides in the division.
“We felt confident coming into the game. We knew we had to start the game well, but we didn’t do that. We didn’t put them on the back foot enough.
“It’s something to reflect on, and hopefully make sure it doesn’t happen again.”