Sunderland manager Lee Johnson is encouraged by the progress made since taking over despite failing to end the club’s wait for a home win against Hull.
Second-placed Hull left with a point after the Black Cats came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.
Aiden McGeady headed in the equaliser in the 21st minute, eight minutes after Reece Burke had put Hull in front on Wearside.
Burke was on hand to force the ball over the line from close range after goalkeeper Lee Burge had dropped George Honeyman’s free-kick from the right.
That incident came just moments after Mallik Wilks’ boot clipped Burge’s head and the goalkeeper required lengthy treatment. He was then substituted at half-time.
Johnson took over from Phil Parkinson six games ago and they have drawn their last three, with Sunderland without a home win since November 3.
He said: “We worked extremely hard against a good side. They had a better first half and we had the better of the second.
“Our best chances came from giving it away and getting it back quickly. There is still a bit to do but we are getting there.
“Lee came off at half-time complaining of a blind spot behind his left eye, the lads showed the character to dig their mate out.
“It was great to see McGeady in that position scoring. I don’t think it is his nature to get in there, he prefers the edge of the box. It’s about strength in numbers.
“It was a good timed goal, we needed to restore faith in the dressing room. We need to do more, we can’t keep getting draws. It makes the next win a good one and that’s why we demand it comes Saturday.”
Hull boss Grant McCann was satisfied with the outcome even though he felt his side could have closed the gap even further after leaders Lincoln lost to Swindon.
His side are now four points behind the Imps but do have a game in hand after recent postponements due to coronavirus cases – Burke, Josh Magennis, Callum Elder and Matt Ingram were making their returns on Saturday.
McCann said: “It’s a good point. It’s a tough place to come.
“We have had a disruptive two weeks in terms of who we had available, trying to get those players up to speed, so we have to take that into consideration.
“Tonight in terms of shape and organisation I thought we were excellent. I’d say we had one lapse in concentration first half and they scored from it, but we defended manfully after that.
“We had the best chances of the game and I think we could have won it. We will take a point and get down the road.”