Jack Ross praised his players for digging in and securing a big three points away at Bradford City.
Sunderland were in command at the break thanks to Josh Maja's smart finish, the 19-year-old chesting Lee Cattermole's fiercely-struck volley past Richard O'Donnell in the Bradford goal after just 20 minutes.
Bradford hit back after the break through Anthony O'Connor's 52nd minute volley at the back post but Sunderland hit back immediately with Jack Baldwin's smart finish two minutes later proving the winner.
They had to dig deep though as Max Power saw red for the second time this season to leave Sunderland with ten men for the best part of 25 minutes.
His kick-out also resulted in a penalty but Jon McLaughlin spared his blushes with a smart penalty save and Sunderland then defended superbly to leave Valley Parade with all three points.
Ross said: "Naturally I'm pleased to win again, we have had an okay spell in not losing games but you want to turn draws in to wins so that was pleasing.
"There were various aspects that were pleasing, bits of the game were good. We had to show that resilience in that last 20 minutes, it was not easy.
"Players have had to dig deep again and that they did that.
"All the circumstances when we have been a man down we have had to play the game in different ways.
"I thought we defended really well in that last period, not just a back four or five but the midfielders too.
"George [Honeyman] and Chrissy [Maguire] had to do a lot of running, their management of the game was good."
With Portsmouth, Peterborough United and Doncaster Rovers all losing, Sunderland climbed to third in League One and now just four points from top spot.
Ross said: "You don't think of that [the other results] too much until you see it post match but our start to the season has been good and encouraging, to only lose one game is good in a tough league.
"It is good it has been encouraging and positive from the players.
"We keep getting better. Defensively as a whole team, dealing with the physical side of the game we are improving.
"We are understanding that more and more."