Sunderland boss Steve Bruce was pleased with the way his side responded from a tough week to post a 2-1 win at Blackpool.
Two first-half goals from Kieran Richardson gave Sunderland the ascendancy before Charlie Adam’s late penalty ensured some nervy moments in the closing stages.
Bruce said he was delighted with the way the squad handled the departure of star striker Darren Bent, who signed for Aston Villa on Tuesday in a deal that drew criticism from Bruce and Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn.
“The players were determined. One player isn’t bigger than the club, especially ours with our history and tradition,” Bruce said.
“It’s about time we drew a line under everything now. It’s up to me to make sure what we do now is the right thing.”
“The one thing the squad needs today is a pat on the back. Every time we’ve come up against a bit of adversity we’ve come out firing.”
“We showed great resilience and arguably this was one of our best performances of the season.”
“In the first half in particular, the football was a joy to watch.”
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, meanwhile, felt his side were unlucky not to take anything from the hard-fought encounter – in contrast to the 2-0 win his side enjoyed over Sunderland on December 28, a match Bruce’s men dominated.
“I think it’s ironic. In this game we probably deserved some points and (at) their place we probably didn’t,” Holloway said.
“But things conspired against us today. We had a few strange injuries and a few strange knocks.”
“Their first goal we only had ten men on the pitch because Neal Eardley took a boot in the face.”
“Obviously we had to take him off, we couldn’t stop his nose bleeding and they got a goal in that time.”
“But they’re a good side. We had better of second half and they scored two goals. They’re the only chances they had to be honest.”