Jack Ross says Duncan Watmore took a 'big step forward' on Tuesday night.
The 24-year-old started his first league game since the 3-1 defeat at Portsmouth before Christmas.
He was a constant threat as Sunderland drew 1-1 with Blackpool and he was unlucky not to register an assist in the first half when Will Grigg missed a one-on-one opportunity.
Ross was thrilled with his performance and says he has looked closer to his best in training.
"I thought he was a big part of us being much more effective in the final third," Ross said.
"We've looked long and hard at that because we've been honest enough in recognising that we haven't created as much int he last five or six games.
"The way Duncan plays this game is different to probably all our other attackers.
"He's looked better in training in the last couple of weeks.
"His performance tonight was what I was oping we'd seen from him given how he's been in training, and it was another big step forward from him."