Blackburn Rovers haven't always been easy on the eye under John Eustace but recent performances got their just rewards against Sunderland.

Rovers produced their best Championship display of the calendar year to record only their second victory of 2024. The 5-1 scoreline against the Black Cats did not flatter them, having dominated from the moment they opened the scoring.

Having started on the back foot, Sam Szmodics' 29th-minute opener marked the start of complete domination at The Stadium of Light. Three more goals would follow in the next 25 minutes of play, leaving Rovers four goals clear before the hour-mark.

The quality of their football was clear to see. Each goal was well worked and cleverly crafted, with the chances then clinically finished off. Sam Szmodics continues to prove invaluable, combining industry and quality in front of goal.

READ MORE: Rovers' rivals make dugout change amid relegation fears

It was a day where all of the front four flourished, in what was the first opportunity for them to play as an attacking unit this season. All of the attackers scored and assisted leaving fans wondering how the season might have turned out had they been fit for the entirety of it.

Ryan Hedges, Szmodics, Tyrhys Dolan and Sam Gallagher were the attacking quartet when Rovers went on their memorable four-game winning run last February/March. Blackpool, Queens Park Rangers, Leicester City and Sheffield United were all put to the sword.

Yet the chance for that same attack to combine, create and cause havoc has been limited. They hadn't all featured in the same side since Eustace came in and even then, Hedges was at wing-back.

Eustace will feel vindicated that improved performances have finally resulted in a statement victory. It has not always been pretty on the eye but the last three displays, since switching to a back four, have certainly gone up a notch.

Despite not scoring against Middlesbrough or Ipswich, Rovers have been a much-improved side on the ball. They've looked a far greater threat with four attackers but have also retained the defensive solidity installed by their first month in a back five under Eustace.

Monday was like the ketchup finally all springing from the bottle after being banged vigorously to no avail in the previous two matches. There was so much to like about each one.

Rovers were aggressive off the ball, pressing high and winning it back for the first and the fourth, with Dolan central to those moves. The third was a devastating transition with Sunderland simply unable to cope with the speed and clever movement of Rovers' attackers.

Joe Rankin-Costello covered every blade of grass behind them. He is a crucial player for this team, adding legs and energy alongside Sondre Tronstad. He is a goal threat too and those runs he makes into the channels are so hard to stop, as illustrated by the second goal.

You would agree the XI that took to the field at Sunderland, with John Buckley and Hayden Carter in the conversation too, is Rovers' best XI. They have been available so infrequently this season so keeping them fit is the priority in these last six games.

The stats in Eustace's first 11 matches, compared to the previous are quite telling. And yes, he is certainly counting the Stoke City win as his own, so we will for this purpose too.

12 points, 11 goals conceded and a plus-three goal difference. Versus five points, 27 goals conceded and five points. That's a clear up lift, with a goal difference of plus three compared to minus 16 too.

Eustace had improved Rovers and now they're showing the attacking quality to match, even if the goals weren't there beforehand. Birmingham and Cardiff were not easy watches but since moving to a back four, they have been much better with the ball.

Quite simply, if Rovers perform to the same standards, they will stay up. Keep the front four fit, and there are enough goals to fire them to safety.