Paul Lambert was delighted to leave Sunderland with all three points and stressed: "We deserved that."
Lambert watched on as Gabby Agbonlahor netted the winner in the first half but also saw his team create several opportunities afterwards.
Christian Benteke had a shot cleared off the line by Phil Bardsley while Marc Albrighton blazed over in the closing stages of the Stadium of Light encounter.
Lambert felt his team should have won more comfortably but was happy with the maximum haul which ensured a very happy start to the New Year.
He said: "It was an important win, very much so. It was a very good beginning to a New Year.
"The Swansea game gave us a platform to move forward. It gave us something to build on.
"It was a very good point against a very good side.
"Today I thought we played really well and it could have been a bit more.
"Even in the first half, we had some really good chances.
"I thought Marc's was a stonewaller to go in. He had just come on and Andi did great to set it up.
"Christian did great with his chance before that where Bardsley cleared it off the line.
"So we had chances to make it more comfortable. It could have been three or four.
"When you're at 1-0, you're always on the edge.
"In the end, it was a big, big win for us. I am delighted because this is a hard place to come and they are fighting for their lives. I was delighted with the performance too."
Lambert said the return of Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar to the starting line-up was key to the victory over the Black Cats.
He added: "We have had big players out but the lads have got on with it. They haven't moaned once. They kept going.
"But we are a club who need our big, experienced players. We have been without some key players. It's been too much for us to carry. When you lose these type of lads, it's a big chunk.
"We have had Christian and Ron out and we have also had Gabby, Andi and Fabian missing at certain times too.
"We find it hard when we have those injuries. But we came back very strongly today with Christian and Ron returning in big areas of the pitch for us.
"When we have everyone fit, we are a very good side.
"If we can get one or two experienced ones lads in to give the group a hand now, that's what we will try to do.
"We want to make the squad stronger and it will also give the supporters a lift, the lads in the dressing room a lift and the football club a lift. We will try and do something."
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