Jack Ross was delighted his Sunderland side came through a big test against promotion rivals Barnsley - and pleased his new-look formation paid off.
Aiden McGeady from the spot, Josh Maja’s stunning strike and Lynden Gooch’s fine effort saw Sunderland storm into a 3-0 lead after just 32 minutes.
A Keiffer Moore brace either side then pegged Sunderland back before sub Luke O’Nien sealed the win seven minutes form time.
Sunderland started with a new-look fluid 4-3-1-2 system with Josh Maja and Chris Maguire leading the attack.
A delighted Ross said: “It was a good match against a good team, a team that I would expect to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, they showed their strengths and we
showed how good we are.
“We set up in a way that I knew it would lend itself to that game, there was a bit of risk involved because you have to back yourself, we did come out the other side.
“It was similar to when Peterborough came here, under the lights here, in midweek, it has a special feel to it. It was a big test for both sides.
“To come through it in the manner we did, it just strengthens the belief that we have, it does every time we win a game.
“I don’t differentiate between the wins, I get as much satisfaction from any of the wins we have had this season.
“I recognise the calibre of the opposition, they have some really good individual players too.
“The belief that grows from beating that calibre of opposition is the big thing.
"That opening 35 minutes is as good as we’ve been this season. Our resilience is growing.“I was enjoying it at 3-0, not so much at 3-2 but the last 30 seconds were good!”