MARTIN O’Neill paid tribute to his players for securing Sunderland’s first away win of the Premier League season – their first league win on the road since February.
A three-goal blitz from normally shot-shy Sunderland was enough to secure a much-needed victory against a Fulham side reduced to 10 men with skipper Brede Hangeland’s sending off on the half-hour.
But O’Neill pointed out that it was no foregone conclusion that the win would be Sunderland’s once the dismissal took place.
“It was a big, big effort from my players and I was delighted with them,” he said.
“Sometimes when the opposition is down to 10 men you’re not quite sure how to play it and it can actually be very difficult.
“We tried to stretch them, tried to pass it around and thankfully we were able to break them down and got some great goals.
“The sending off helped change the course of the match – it was long time with 11 v 10 – but Fulham are a good side and have been for a number of years and they refused to make it easy for us.
“That was the danger for us – that Fulham are such a decent side.
“And we did get sloppy at times but thankfully my keeper Simon Mignolet made some very important saves and we were able to see it through.
“It was just what we needed and now we have back-to-back home games coming up, which will be good for us after so many away matches this season. But it’s no point winning at Fulham and then losing to West Brom.
“We have to make this win the start of something.”