Black Cats boss David Moyes has aid there are more important things than football after praising players for cheering up a terminally ill mascot in hospital.
Bradley Lowery, five, fell asleep cuddling his hero Jermain Defoe and was thrilled to see club captain John O'Shea, goalkeeper Vito Mannone and midfielder Seb Larsson on Thursday.
Bradley, from Blackhall, County Durham, has been a mascot for his beloved Sunderland several times this season and has touched the hearts of fans across the world.
Bradley's family shared photos of the hospital visit on social media with their many well-wishers who have supported his battle with the rare cancer neuroblastoma.
At his pre-match press conference, Moyes was asked about the players visiting Bradley.
He said: "A lot of footballers get a bad rap and a lot of things said about them, but I'll tell you the truth, I didn't even know the boys were at the hospital yesterday.
"They were at the hospital seeing Bradley and it was great for them, but also maybe it makes them realise how lucky we are and that there are some things much more important than football.
"It's important to us - we want to win for the supporters and for the club, but there are other things out there as well."