PHIL Parkinson admitted Oxford United ’s approach came as a surprise to the visitors.

The Sunderland boss was thrilled with a “professional” performance in the 2-0 victory at the Kassam Stadium.

They came up against an injury-hit hosts who began with a diamond in midfield rather than Karl Robinson’s favoured 4-3-3 system.

It led to them playing long more often to a front two of Matty Taylor and Derick Osei.

Also read: Oxford United boss fumes after display against Sunderland

Parkinson had not expected the switch, which he felt was in part down to the wind.

“Oxford surprised us a bit,” he said.

“They probably looked at the conditions and went more direct than normal.”

He added: “Everybody knows this is a very difficult place to come.

“They were a team that were right up with us last season and to come away with a 2-0 victory is a great tonic for us.”

Sunderland were on top early on before the game evened out up to the break.

But Parkinson felt the only surprise in the second half was it took them until the 82nd minute to kill the game.

He said: “The first half was a bit scrappy.

“It was blustery with the open nature of a three-sided ground.

“I thought we did all right, but we improved so much in the second period and dominated it really.

“We got the first goal and should probably have got another sooner than we did.

“But it was a very professional performance from us.”