It was far from pretty but delighted West Bromwich Albion boss Tony Pulis hailed his side's determination after they reached the coveted 40-point mark.
The Baggies were safely in mid-table before the match at the Stadium of Light but Pulis was pleased with the hard-fought display.
West Brom keeper Ben Foster was the star man, with the 32-year-old pulling off a string of impressive saves to deny the Sunderland forward line.
The goalless draw leaves West Brom 11th in the Premier League table, with third-bottom Sunderland now four points off 17th-placed Norwich City, who secured a last-gasp winner against relegation rivals Newcastle United at Carrow Road.
While Sam Allardyce was left proud but deeply frustrated by his side's dominant display, opposite number Pulis was delighted with a hard-earned draw.
Pulis said: "Pleased? We are doing somersaults.
"To get to those points is first class for us because we have got some tough games - we go to Manchester City, we got to Arsenal, we go to Tottenham - so we need to get the points in the bag.
"It's been such an unusual season this year.
"When you look below and you look at teams like Aston Villa, Newcastle, Sunderland, nobody should ever, ever, especially at our football club - well, any football club - take anything for granted in this league.
"It's the hardest league and the toughest league in the world.
"We had 39 points - most probably that is safety, and they (the players) most probably would have thought that that was safety.
"But they have come here and they have really, really made it difficult, and I am pleased for them and I am pleased for the football club that we haven't come here and just been walked over."
The Black Cats had 22 shots - their most in a league game this season - hitting the target with seven and Pulis was indebted to Foster, but not surprised by his contribution.
Pulis added: "Ben has been like that since he came back.
"People forget that we didn't have him for six months this season.
"He is a top goalkeeper, a top lad."