Sam Allardyce paid tribute to Sunderland's mid-season recruits after Premier League safety was secured with a comfortable 3-0 win over Everton on Wednesday.
Sunderland's victory condemned both fierce rivals Newcastle United and Norwich City to the drop with a game to spare, as Allardyce maintained his record of never being relegated from the Premier League.
Patrick van Aanholt's free-kick and Lamine Kone's close-range finish had the hosts in control at half-time at the Stadium of Light. Kone's second 10 minutes after the interval put the game well beyond a disappointing Everton.
And Allardyce was quick to point to the influence of his January arrivals - which include the likes of Kone, Wahbi Khazri and Jan Kirchhoff - in Sunderland's successful survival bid.
"It's been a long few days from Saturday [a 3-2 win over Chelsea], because it's in your hands for the first time," Allardyce told Sky Sports.
"Everyone wanted us to perform like we did against Chelsea and actually we did it better.
"If you look back at November...Everton 6-2 Sunderland, it shows how far we've come and it's been a long few months until we got some players in in January and we turned into a team from January onwards.
"We became difficult to beat, a team that didn't like losing again and we continued this run through the last 10 games or so.
"The financial side [of staying up], what that gives us in terms of spending is the same for everyone so it's how wisely we spend it and what we do.
"Because I think the contribution of the players we got in in January has been really big and the next set of recruitment is crucial to make sure the club isn't cheering a lap of honour to be staying up.
"The draws eventually led to wins, that led us to getting safe with one game to go.
"It was pretty miraculous and there was no way I wanted to go to Watford [on Sunday] needing anything!"
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