Sunderland interim boss Kevin Ball believes his players can take a lot of positives from their performance in Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.
The visitors looked comfortable after taking a 2-0 lead into half-time thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, but they were made to work for their win as Emanuele Giaccherini struck early in the second period.
Brendan Rodgers' side only made the result certain in the 89th minute, with Suarez grabbing his second of the game courtesy of an assist from Sturridge.
And Ball, who is in temporary charge at the Stadium of Light following the sacking of Paolo Di Canio, was adamant after the match that his team played well despite the disappointing nature of the result.
"Before the game I said to them about the performance. Yes, we do need points, we're not going to lie from that point of view, but we need performances to build on," he said.
"Before the game today, I took the players for a walk along the seafront because I wanted them to see the people they play for, see the people they represent.
"I think when you saw the game today, I thought they put in a very good performance. Yes, we haven't come out with any points, but for me there are a lot of plusses that we can take going forward and allow us to build."
Ball has publicly declared his willingness to take the job on a full-time basis should he be given the opportunity, but remained coy on further developments in Sunderland's managerial search.
"I give credit to the board, they always speak to me at certain times about certain things and they're always in touch so to speak but not necessarily about this," he added.
"I wouldn't like to say, if they want me to and want to take it forward then great. If they want to do something else then that's their prerogative. The first thing I'll be doing is going over this game tomorrow with the players."
The 48-year-old also had kind words for Sturridge and Suarez, who put on a masterful performance at the Stadium of Light.
"I think in the Premier League you're always up against attacking threats and the higher you go up in the league in terms of the team, it's always going to get harder and they're going to get better," he continued.
"I think from both Suarez and Sturridge's point of view it's a fantastic attacking threat. I think when you look at Suarez, fair play, he's an absolutely world-class player."
|23||E. Giaccherini||52' 59'|
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