Chris Coleman hails Sunderland fans and the Stadium of Light atmosphere after dramatic draw against Middlesbrough
Sub Callum McManaman rescued a late point for struggling Sunderland, his 96th-minute volley sealing a point after an afternoon packed full of drama, with six goals and two red cards.
An official crowd of 29,048, including 2,500 Boro fans, watched the action unfold and Coleman thanked supporters for their part.
Coleman said: "This stadium is half full since I've been here and when they get excited it's the best noise I've heard, and I've been in football a long time.
"I can't imagine if it's full, can't imagine if we're playing well week-in, week-out and going in the right direction, I can't imagine the atmosphere.
"We've had a lot of slaps in face, poor performances, booed off and deserved it. We want to give them something to smile about, some hope.
"The fans deserved to go home with something. Boro brought a great following, a big club who are fighting for something different, so it was a good atmosphere."
In the build-up to the match, Coleman said he didn't think it was a derby, with Newcastle United the real derby for Sunderland fans.
When asked again after a pulsating afternoon, Coleman added: "I think it helped us playing Boro, who are just down the road.
"From where we are we have to travel two hours to be within three hours of anywhere, but they're close and the atmosphere today was very good. I think that helped us."
Joel Asoro saw Sunderland go into half-time with a 1-0 lead with both sides down to ten men after Jake Clarke-Salter and Adama Traore saw red.
Patrick Bamford and Grant Leadbitter put Boro ahead, only for Jonny Williams to level and Bamford grab what seemed to be the winner before the late goal from McManaman to cap a dramatic afternoon on Wearside.
On the performance, Coleman said: "It's a point and we needed three but we had a scrap, a tear-up with Boro.
"Sometimes you win and sometimes you don't. But at least after the last couple of performances I feel a bit better as we've shown a team performance.
"It's not 45 minutes, we haven't shown up when 2-0 down and started huffing and puffing. We've huffed and puffed from the start.
"It was a great first 45 minutes, a poor 10 minutes at the start of second half when we're wishing our life away by hoping to hang on to a 1-0 which never works.
"We fought back to 2-2, then at 3-2 down we fought back again.
"The supporters stayed with us and they got something to cheer about at the end.
"We've lost four games out of six, and in the last four games on two occasions we've scored three goals and only got a point in each.
"So that's the run we've been on and that's not great, but when you are where you are there's no option, there's no hiding place.
"It's got to turn now in these games coming up and I think we can do that."