Norwich manager Chris Hughton was delighted with his side’s effort after their 2-1 win over Sunderland on Sunday.
Sebastien Bassong and Anthony Pilkington struck in the first half for Norwich before they held on against Martin O’Neill’s side, who were much improved after the break.
The win extended Norwich’s unbeaten run in the English Premier League to nine matches, helping them up to 12th.
Hughton praised goalkeeper Mark Bunn, who replaced the injured John Ruddy, but was pleased with the efforts of his whole team at Carrow Road.
“He was part of a very good team today. We protected him as much as possible,” Hughton said of the shot-stopper.
“It’s the same team for three games in a week and we needed all 11 of them plus the two that came on, but delighted for Mark because it’s a tough one for John.
“John’s going to be out for a while. This gives him an opportunity and he can’t have done himself any harm.”
Craig Gardner pulled a goal back for Sunderland on the stroke of half-time and only wastefulness cost them at least a point.
Hughton gave the visitors credit for their dominant second-half display, praising winger Adam Johnson.
“I thought we were excellent in the first half but it’s very difficult to sustain that for 90 minutes, particularly at the time of their goal – it gave them a real lift,” he said.
“They showed, at times, the real quality that they’ve got in their team, some real sharpness in the box and the wide areas. I thought Johnson was always a threat.
“We had to dig deep in that second half but third game in a week, same team, so I’m really delighted.”
O’Neill, whose side are just a point clear of the relegation zone, lamented his team’s defending which led to Norwich’s two goals.
“We conceded some very, very poor goals so it was an uphill task but from the moment we conceded the second goal I thought that we played very strongly,” O’Neill said.
“Second half in particular we were really excellent, we created some really decent chances and should have scored two or three.
“If we show the same spirit as we did in the second half for the rest of the season we’ll be fine and if we show the tension that was in us in the first half then it’ll be a tough battle.”