Simon Grayson had high praise for two-goal striker Lewis Grabban – despite the frustration of Saturday’s 3-3 Championship draw at Brentford.
The Black Cats looked set to seal three vital points when Grabban’s penalty put them 3-1 up just before half-time, only for the hosts to hit back.
Discussing Grabban, who has now hit five goals since joining on a season-long loan from Bournemouth, Grayson said: “I thought he was really good, his hold-up play was good.
“He ran out of steam as Duncan (Watmore) did (in the) second half. You see the quality that he brings too – Callum McManaman was good when he came on.
“Jonny Williams was out injured. We are getting towards where we want to get to in terms of the attacking side.
“We have to put the ingredients together of keeping clean sheets as well as scoring.”
Grayson said he did not try to play for the draw in the closing stages, with the Black Cats coming under sustained pressure.
On came Callum McManaman, James Vaughan and Lynden Gooch in the latter stages but the trio were unable to make a significant impact.
He said: “I do it the other week and you get criticised for shoring up. We wanted to try and win the game and be positive in the approach.
“We still felt we would get chances because it was that open.
“You take Aiden (McGeady) off and Lewis and Duncan ran out of steam.
“We wanted to be positive but also make sure we didn’t lose it as well.
“The strength in depth is now a lot better and you have Jonny Williams who should be fit for next weekend as well.”