Sunderland recovered from two consecutive defeats - which totalled 10 goals conceded - to defeat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park - moving them out of the relegation places.
Goals from Steven Fletcher and Jordi Gomez saw off the Eagles - who benefited from a Wes Brown own-goal - to show faith in head coach Gus Poyet’s team selection, with goalkeeper Vito Mannone left out of the starting XI in favour of former Manchester City man Costel Pantilimon.
The victory - also the Black Cats first league win away from the Stadium of Light this season - showed a surprisingly dominant performance from Sunderland, with Pantilimon having to make just one save all game, although the Eagles were unlucky to be denied a clear penalty in the opening minutes.
To register a result at Selhurst Park - a remarkably tricky ground to play in - shows an incredible turnaround from the Black Cats limp 8-0 defeat at Southampton two weeks ago, and club captain John O’Shea believes that the ‘character’ of the playing squad was vital in their victory.
Speaking to the Chronicle, former Manchester United man O’Shea said: It was about character at Palace, big style.
“Simple as that.
“The manager spoke beforehand about getting back to basics, keeping things simple, but ultimately winning the match.”
Having conceded an equalising goal just after half-time, fans may have been fearing that the club would collapse under the pressure brought on from their most recent defeats, but O’Shea is delighted that his teammates reacted well despite the negative situation.
He added: “The pleasing thing was how we reacted after conceding the goal that we did.
“Palace probably had a little spell when they were on top, but we got control of the game again and scored some great goals.”