Relieved Sam Allardyce was pleased to come away with a point from the Britannia Stadium after admitting his Sunderland players had felt the pressure.
Stoke City took the lead 50 minutes in through Marko Arnautovic's low shot, with Allardyce complaining it shouldn't have stood after Peter Crouch pushed Younes Kaboul in the build-up.
Sunderland were poor but they eventually equalised deep into stoppage time, with Jermain Defoe stepping up and smashing home a penalty to send the travelling fans into ecstasy.
Allardyce said: "Do I look relieved!
"I was happy to accept a point, it is one gained rather than two lost.
"I think our performance wasn't the best, we accept that. We looked a little bit nervous, more than we have done in the last four or five games.
"Maybe the lads were feeling the pressure a bit today and that caused us in possession to give far too many easy balls away.
"I sensed the nerves but didn't expect it.
"The lads are very good, all supporting each other, better than any team I have been involved in in a relegation fight.
"The last few games I haven't seen the edginess that I saw today.
"Finally, in the end we played a very good ball from Yann MVila and a super little turn from Jermain Defoe.
"Nobody could complain about the penalty, he was one-on-one and would have scored. The defender knew he was beaten and stuck the leg out."
Allardyce was angry that Stoke's opener wasn't chalked off and he also thought Sunderland should have had a penalty for a handball 30 minutes in by Geoff Cameron.
"My problem is that could have been the winner for us. Peter Crouch has both hands on Younes Kaboul's shoulder," added Allardyce.
"The ref and his assistant also missed a penalty from Cameron's handball in the box first half - he had put his hand above his head from a cross after 30 minutes.
"They just let it go. Jermain told me after he can't believe the ref didn't give it. Stuck his hand way above the head and flicked the ball!
"It wouldn't have gone to our players but it was a silly thing to do by the Stoke defender. They got away with it.
"I was pleased the referee was brave enough to give the penalty and we are still fighting - that is the most important thing, with three games to go.
"We have a game in hand over Newcastle. Even though it puts us more under pressure, and it could have been that we both drew but Crystal Palace missed a penalty.
"Those things are not in our control. What is in our control is trying to win next week and to make the game in hand against Everton count.
"We have to hold our nerve.
"We have the capabilities.
"And we have to try and do the escape that this club has done for the past two or three years and I hope I can be the manager that can help them do that again."