Tony Pulis said Sunderland did not throw the towel in as his West Bromwich Albion side strengthened their grip on eighth place in the Premier League.
Not for the first time, Pulis has proved the master of top flight consolidation and he saw his team win with comfort, despite a decent second-half effort from the Black Cats.
In truth, the result had pretty much been decided by half-time by which point the Baggies held a two-goal lead through excellent left-foot strikes by Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt.
Sunderland at least had some attempts at Ben Foster's goal in the second period, the closest being a deflected shot from Patrick van Aanholt which was scooped over by the keeper.
Jack Rodwell fired over the bar, while van Aanholt found the crowd with a wayward shot and Billy Jones saw a header easily taken by Foster.
"You've got to give credit to Sunderland because they could have thrown the towel in," said Pulis.
"But they had a right go in the second half and made it difficult for us."
West Brom remain eighth after a fifth win in six home matches, extending their gap over ninth-placed Stoke to four points.
"Some of our football was very good, especially in the first half," said Pulis.
"This was a banana-skin for us, everyone was turning up with great expectations, but as you've seen with Swansea going to Liverpool and winning, there are no easy games in this league.
"We're really pleased at the moment but we need to make sure we keep our feet on the ground and keep working as hard as we did here. The players really put a shift in."