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Oatway Hails Performance Of His Sunderland 'Men'

Who cares about style? It's all about substance for Sunderland now.

Gareth Copley

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Charlie Oatway believes the 1-0 win over Stoke City that hauled Sunderland out of the relegation zone was a triumph of determination rather than design.

The Black Cats' first team coach, who was standing in for cold-ridden Gus Poyet with the media duties, credited the players for performing like 'men' and digging out a massive result. He told Sky Sports:

The gaffer wants us to play decent football.

But at times it isn't going to work like that and at certain times today it was about us being men and grinding out results and the boys were so that's all that mattered today.

It certainly wasn't a good performance from Sunderland, but it was dogged performance at a crucial time. There have been plenty of times this season when good performances haven't been rewarded, so you'll take this one.

Granted, the passing was generally poor, the defending far too deep, and the tempo weirdly pinged between desperation and ponderous at an apparently random rate. In this one, though, the result was everything.

You get games like these at key moments in relegation battles. We have all seen enough of them. Too many of them really. Winning them is all that matters. It doesn't matter how it is done. History won't record the performance - and neither will the league table.