Michael Beale challenged his players to show greater levels of consistency after securing a first win as Sunderland manager with a 1-0 victory at Hull.
Beale’s men moved above the Tigers into the top six of the Sky Bet Championship following Jack Clarke’s 11th goal of the season after 82 minutes.
Sunderland lost 3-0 at home to Coventry in Beale’s first game in charge on Saturday, but responded by recording a first away win since September.
The former Rangers boss said: “I knew it would be a tough game and that we hadn’t won away from home for a long time, but I thought we should have won by more.
“We missed some big chances. Some of our interplay was good and it was just whether we could execute that in the final third.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the mentality of the side.
“That’s a big, big positive, but the big thing for me is that we need consistency. We must back it up against Rotherham.
“The inconsistency tells me we can’t get too high or too low – it’s important we keep going.”
The game was meandering towards a draw until Clarke provided the one moment of quality when he cut inside from the left before calmly steering the ball into the bottom-right corner.
Beale added: “We hadn’t much time to work with the players and it was demoralising on Saturday, what with the way the game went.
“Hull are really dangerous opponents and to come away with a clean sheet was fantastic.
“I think sometimes we are a little bit fussy in the final third – trying to score a perfect goal.
“It’s got to be more effective, but that was a special goal from Jack.
“It was a great three points, but we have to recover and now prepare for Rotherham.”
Hull have now lost back-to-back games, with head coach Liam Rosenior once again rueful of a lack of precision in front of goal.
He said: “It was a very evenly matched game between two teams pushing for the top six.
“I thought we had the better chances, but they also had some degree of control.
“We’re not taking control of the big moments of games – we didn’t take our chances when they came our way.
“I’m tired of coming out with the same story. We haven’t got the points our performances deserve.
“At 0-0 with 20 minutes to go we had to make sure we kept the back door shut.
“It’s a difficult one to take, but we now have to focus on a difficult game against Blackburn.
“We have to be more clinical at one end and more ruthless at the other. If we do that we’ve got the makings of a really good team.
“The players are a frustrated group as they know how good they can be.”