Elliott Dickman hailed young striker Andrew Nelson after his game-changing cameo in the Premier League International Cup.
On Saturday, Nelson scored his first goal for Harrogate Town, when he is on loan as he looks to kick-start his professional career.
He returned to the Sunderland Under-23 side last night and replaced Joel Asoro on the hour mark.
His late goal rescued a 1-1 draw with Legia Warsaw and, while the highly-rated Asoro struggled again, Dickman was quick to point out that there were mitigating circumstances.
He said: “With the sub I just wanted a change. Andrew Nelson is quite an aggressive player.
“I thought we were a bit safe in possession, having a lot of play but without really threatening and I just thought he might offer something different.
“Joel likes to run in behind with his pace, but Andrew likes the battle and I thought that might be what we needed. Fair to play to him, it was a great finish from him.
“Joel has been away on international duty, so he hasn’t been back long. That can have an impact on anybody, to be fair to him.
“It isn’t easy when you’ve been travelling.
“It isn’t happening for him at the moment, but, in the long run, I’m sure it’ll come for him.”
The draw leaves Sunderland top of their group, having beaten Hertha Berlin 2-0 in their first game.
They face Leicester City in their final group contest on December 5, and Dickman was pleased to see a big improvement from their first-half performance against Legia to seal a point.
He said: “We were pleased to get a point. The second-half performace was good, we got into good areas. It’s probably the same old story – it might have been different with a bit more care in the final third.
“We’re getting there, we’re getting the chances, it’s just the little things in decision-making.”