Chris Coleman has no qualms about ‘winning ugly’ with Sunderland and insists keeping clean sheets is key if the club is to prosper under him.
At the 19th attempt, Sunderland recorded their first clean sheet of the campaign in the 2-0 win over Burton Albion.
Victory, courtesy of late goals from James Vaughan and George Honeyman, was built on a solid foundation at the back.
Coleman insists a shut out helps breed confidence across the pitch and he has stressed players taking individual responsibility is key.
Since taking over from Simon Grayson, the former Wales boss has spoken of his desire to see Sunderland get on the front foot and attack sides more.
But he has been keen to also stress to his players at the Academy of Light the importance of keeping the ball out at the other end.
“It was great to get a clean sheet, because you have to do that,” said Coleman ahead of this afternoon’s game at home to Reading.
“You can’t play fantastic football every game, there will be times where it is not happening in the offensive half and if that’s the case, it has to be happening at the other end.
“It’s as simple as that. Clean sheets bring confidence for everyone.
“It is about marking well from corners and free-kicks and set-plays, being organised and taking responsibility.
“I thought it was a good building block to put in place against Burton. If we can build on that and do it consistently, more often than not we will be OK.
“You have to show resilience and persistence. If you’ve got those, you don’t have to have that much talent, actually.
“Resilience and persistence can be dirty words – people don’t like to use them any more, they like to talk about technique, fluidity, imagination and creativity, and that’s all great.
“But if you haven’t got the other stuff, it all falls down.
“There’s nothing wrong with winning ugly. I’d much rather win ugly than play well and lose.”
The visit of Reading is Coleman’s first home game in charge of Sunderland.
The club’s dire record at the Stadium of Light has been well documented and Coleman is desperate to end the 20-game winless run.
Grayson failed to win a home game during his 15-game spell in charge.
Coleman says he has a great deal of respect for Grayson, who replaced David Moyes at the helm in the summer following relegation from the Premier League.
When asked if he would be changing anything at the Stadium of Light, Coleman said: “I don’t know what Simon did, I don’t know what went before.
“Football is about timing.
“I could have come in at the start of the season, and maybe the results would have been the same, and Simon might have taken my place.
“But Simon’s record in the Championship – and of winning promotions from League One to the Championship – is fantastic. It’s probably bettered only by Neil Warnock.
“I have a lot of respect for Simon.
“I don’t know what Simon did, I only know what I am going to do – so I don’t know if I’m changing it or not.”