Sunderland boss Simon Grayson praises Darron Gibson after strong performance
Simon Grayson felt Darron Gibson responded to his recent criticism with a dominant performance in Sunderland's 1-0 Carabao Cup win over Bury.
Republic of Ireland international Gibson was selected for the first time since the Black Cats opened a disciplinary process against him last month after he was filmed in a bar criticising team-mates.
Gibson played 90 minutes and looked assured throughout as George Honeyman's first senior goal 21 minutes from time delivered a maiden victory for new Sunderland boss Grayson.
And the performance of his under-fire midfielder Gibson was one of the most pleasing aspects to emerge from the display at Gigg Lane.
"I thought he dominated the midfield area, him and Didier (Ndong)," Grayson said of Gibson.
"I thought they controlled it when they needed to and worked hard off the ball.
"I think he had to answer a few questions because of what he said and other people wanted to see him put on a performance and I thought he did. He showed experience with the ball and without it, I'm really pleased for him."
Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League last season and won just eight games across the three competitions they were in.
Grayson, who had named a strong line-up that included John O'Shea, Gibson and Aiden McGeady, stressed the importance of changing the club's mentality by winning games such as this.
"It's important that we get back to winning ways very quickly because we haven't had too many over the last year or so, hence why we played the team we did," he noted.
"I could have done with leaving a few more out but players need some game time and we wanted to win.
"The supporters can go home happy that they've seen a good, honest team performance and a victory. This can lead to more confidence for the players."
League One Bury rarely troubled their Championship visitors but manager Lee Clark insisted he could not fault the endeavour of a team that lost captain Stephen Dawson to an early knee injury.
The midfielder went down following an innocuous-looking challenge from Gibson and was carried off on a stretcher after a six-minute delay.
"My players gave me everything," Clark said. "Did we deserve to win? Probably not. But we gave everything, worked hard and were organised.
"We lost our captain to what doesn't look a great injury at all, the players responded to that. They gave me a right good shift and the main objective is League One. I wanted the lads to give a good account of ourselves and I felt they have."
On Dawson, Clark added: "I saw him at half-time, I probably didn't need to because if he lies down you know there's an issue.
"It wasn't the tackle, it was the second phase. He's in a lot of pain. There isn't much assessing that can happen when he's in that much pain.
"Hopefully we get some good news and by that I mean it's not a long-term job in terms of months, it will just be weeks. We need him in our group, he's our leader."