Jack Ross says he couldn't ask any more of Jimmy Dunne after the loanee made his debut against Scunthorpe United.
The 21-year-old impressed in a difficult game and Ross was pleased with his contribution.
"He did fine," Ross said.
"A young man coming into a new team in terms of his team-mates and surroundings, I thought he did everything he asked, he dealt with the physicality and I couldn't have asked any more from him in that respect.
"The goal doesn't come from bad defending, it's an outstanding goal, but we've still dropped two points from a winning position."
Dunne's introduction came at the rare expense of Jack Baldwin, though Ross did stress that Badlwin had been suffering from illness in the build-up to the game.
While happy with his defenders individually, Ross admits that he is still searching for the right combination.
"Jack's been ill this week, but he trained towards the end of the week," Ross said.
"He's played in most of the games this season. As much as I think a lot of the defenders have done fine individually, as a unit, I mean the whole team, we've not found a chemistry to enable us to keep clean sheets and see games out.
"This is an example of our whole reaction when we went a goal ahead. Rather than defending poorly, we're not showing enough composure and quality in that time which surprises me given the quality we have.
"We look a bit panicked and we need to get better because that should suit us when the game opens up, we should be able to pick teams off and score that second goal but we're not doing that."
Dunne himself admitted the team were frustrated to lose out late on but insisted that it was not a bad point for the Black Cats.
"I found out on Friday [I was playing] but I'd had a week of training so I was on my toes and ready.
"You've got to be ready, especially in games like that where it is 100mph.
"[The result] is frustrating but at the same time, it's tough to come here and get three points.
"Not everyone does.
"We had to match their enthusiasm and play the side of the game that maybe we don't like as much, because it was scrappy.
"To be fair, the quality of the finish, sometimes there's not much you can do.
"Obviously we need to be going for three points every week but we're not to going to turn our heads away too much at a hard-earned point. They all add up."
Dunne echoed his manager's assessment in admitting that the Black Cats have to manage games better when ahead.
"It feels like if we keep a clean sheet we'll win," he said.
"In this game, if you invite that amount of pressure onto the back four in the latter stages, the likelihood you'll concede is much higher than if you're up the pitch.
"So that's something to work on and thankfully we've got a bit of time to work on it before the next [league] game."