Sunderland swept aside Crystal Palace in a devastating attacking display but David Moyes believes it is the new-found resilience that will be key to survival.
Clean sheets have been like busses for Sunderland this season, with two coming along in the space of a week.
And while Moyes was purring over his side’s rampant attacking threat at Selhurst Park, that much-coveted clean sheet was just as important.
Sunderland, who have recently switched to a back three with wing-backs, have only kept out the opposition four times this season.
Moyes is keen to see the Palace thrashing spark a winning run – and he is happy to see his side win ugly if it means Premier League survival.
“We’re going to have to find a way of picking up results but I thought we played some good stuff, we scored four goals away from home,” said Moyes.
“So we’re taking great credit for that.
“We got a clean sheet, we’re taking great credit for that as well.
“They were diving in front of the goalline in the last minute to make sure we didn’t concede a goal.
“So I thought the boys showed great resilience, toughed it out when they needed to and dealt with a couple of things in the early part of the game.
“Crystal Palace had a great chance with a header at the back post just after we’d gone 1-0 up. Sometimes you need that as well.”
Sunderland’s survival hopes have been given a major shot in the arm with victory over relegation rivals Palace, with two points now separating six teams.
With Southampton the visitors to the Stadium of Light on Saturday, Moyes says it is “vital” to build on the four points picked up in a week against Tottenham Hotspur and Palace.
Sunderland won four out of seven league games in November and December, with Moyes desperate for another similar winning run.
Moyes added: “We had a great run in the first half of the season, that gave us a real lift.
“I feel like we need to do something similar in the second half of the season.
“I hope this can be the start. Great point against Spurs, three points against Palace.
“We need to find another one of those runs to remain a Premier League team.”
Moyes handed a full debut to Bryan Oviedo against Palace, with the 26-year-old starring at left-back.
Fellow January signings Joleon Lescott and Darron Gibson both came off the bench in the second half to make their Sunderland debuts.
When asked whether the January signings were important in the win, Moyes said: “I don’t think it was that, although I was pleased with Bryan Oviedo’s performance, having not played very many minutes.
“We would like to have done more business but the boys who came in have done well.
“I said last week that we need to get a good team spirit going now, be a bit ugly at times. That’s what we need to be.”