Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy says he 'admired' the way Sunderland stuck to their gameplan at Spotland.
Barry-Murphy had not suffered a defeat since taking over from Keith Hill and his side, well organised throughout, took a first-half lead against the Black Cats.
They suffered late heartbreak after George Honeyman's stunning winner, a goal that could have significant ramifications at both ends of the League One table.
The Irishman was full of praise for his players but hailed Sunderland's 'relentless' approach this season.
"The result was harsh on us but the effort of our lads was incredible," Barry-Murphy said.
"They put a lot of effort into preparing for the game. The result didn't go our way but we were playing against a side who have been relentless in their pursuit of points all season.
"I kind of admire the way they went about the game really.
"We scored and had good spells in the first half and they were never affected, they just kept doing what they wanted to do.
"Huge respect for them, really," he added.
"I thought our lads were amazing for spells of the game, their discipline and the exact same courage and hard work they've put into the previous games.
"The result just didn't go our way."
Black Cats boss Jack Ross had similarly praised his players for keeping faith in their gameplan.
“There has been different challenges all season, this was another one, to come from a goal behind," he said.
“On the back of the week we have had, to keep pushing, it takes guts and hunger.
“It is a happy dressing room, they are in a good place and trusting what they do.
“It was much about character and desire, it was pleasing they kept faith second half and didn’t panic and got their rewards," he added.
“For us, we had a young team on the pitch today, we were stretched a bit squad wise.
“Prior to their goal I though we were good, creating good opportunities.
“The goal rocked us a bit, as it does.
“We got a little bit sloppy, clearances and decision making.
“Half-time was good, it gave us the opportunity to remind them what we wanted them to do in the game.
“They have to do it on the pitch though, they kept playing the way we wanted to, how we would get joy from the game," he added.
“The winning goal comes from us doing that. Testament to their desire and character.”