Sunderland took advantage of promotion rivals Portsmouth slipping up at Gillingham, with Jack Ross delighted with the reaction of his squad.
The Black Cats were on the end of a demoralising 3-1 defeat at Fratton Park on Saturday but produced the perfect Boxing Day response with a 1-0 win over Bradford City.
Aiden McGeady’s 31st minute strike, low past Richard O’Donnell, enough to seal a big victory in front of a record home crowd.
Pompey were beaten 2-0 at Gillingham in the lunchtime kick-off, a psychological boost for Sunderland ahead of the Bradford game.
The in-form Bantams proved a tough opposition and Sunderland were on the receiving end of some fortune after Jack Payne’s effort, which had clearly crossed the line, wasn’t given.
For Ross, he was pleased with the reaction to the defeat at Portsmouth and said every time Sunderland have been asked questions this season, they have responded in the right way.
Ross said: “There are always motivating factors you can take from a defeat.
“It is such a variant in our squad and experiences not just in football but at this club. But they all have a lot of pride about them. Defeat at Portsmouth stung them.
“There was a bit of sting in it for a lot of the boys, being in a stadium that felt as if it was celebrating something.
“The response was excellent, everytime they have been asked a question they have responded.”
On rivals Portsmouth dropping points, Ross said: “It is reflective of this league, it is a tough league, competitive and good teams in a competitive division.
“I have never looked at any of our games and thought they were easy, it is such a tough league.
“Bradford were on a good run, I think they will continue to get good results and I am pleased we don’t have to play them again.”
Ross made four changes for the game, with skipper George Honeyman missing out with an ankle problem.
Duncan Watmore was on the bench, along with fit-again Charlie Wyke, while Tom Flanagan and Josh Maja were both restored to the starting line-up.
Maja was an unused sub at Fratton Park through illness but impressed in the win over Bradford, Luke O’Nien also impressing at right-back with Adam Matthews again missing out with an calf problem.
Sunderland return to action at the Stadium of Light on Saturday when they host Shrewsbury.