Elliot Embleton and Ross Stewart sent the red and white half of the stadium into raptures with their goals and the Black Cats will now be returning to the Championship for the first time since 2017/18.
Alex Neil took over from Lee Johnson earlier this year and hit the ground running in the dugout as he secured a play-off spot and then masterminded wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe to get Sunderland back into the second tier.
Whilst Embleton and Stewart scored the goals in the play-off final, attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard was the star of the show as he put in a sublime performance in the number 10 role.
As per SofaScore, he completed two of his three attempted dribbles and created four chances as he set up both of the goals at Wembley. He was the glue in the attack as he pieced together moves and developed the play by making himself available for the ball before playing a killer pass to create an opportunity for a team-mate.
Pritchard played a major role in securing promotion for the club, and his displays for the Black Cats throughout the campaign show that Kristjaan Speakman landed a blinding deal by signing him for nothing from Huddersfield last summer.
Journalist Ash Bahrami recently dubbed the signing a “coup” for the Black Cats, and the 29-year-old’s statistics over the course of the season back that up. In League One, the ex-Spurs maestro was superb as he made himself a constant threat in the final third for Johnson and then Neil…
These statistics show that Pritchard made a big contribution in the final third as he consistently put chances on a plate for his team-mates to score – two of which won them promotion to the Championship.
Former Black Cats boss Johnson once lauded the 29-year-old’s ability to play key passes, saying: “Pritch is going to be important for us and I think you see that as well.
“We are still building him up. He’s 95 percent fit and I think he has that quality to unlock doors at this level that most people haven’t.”
Pritchard showcased his quality to open up defences all season and his exceptional performances prove that Speakman landed a coup in bringing him in on a free transfer.
Hopefully the Sunderland chief can secure similar deals to bolster the squad this summer with a view to attacking the Championship.