Honest Tony Mowbray says Sunderland need to be “miles better” than they were at Huddersfield – but hailed his side for their battling qualities to grind out a crucial win in dreadful conditions.

And the Sunderland boss praised “unique” Alex Pritchard for shrugging off flak from the home fans and firing the goal that set the Black Cats on their way to a 2-0 victory.

The win brought to an end a three-match winless run for Sunderland, who moved back into the top half of the Championship with success against the bottom club.

In horrendous conditions, Sunderland struggled to settle in a scrappy opening period at the John Smith’s Stadium. But they admirably stuck at their task and Pritchard got the all important first goal before Amad Diallo wrapped up the points in the dying seconds.

“Our performance level has to be miles better than that,” said Mowbray.

“I didn’t think we could play as bad as that. Credit to Huddersfield but we played like the weather. It’s probably my fault as well, I picked too many attacking players.

“Our performance level over the seven or eight weeks I‘ve been here have warranted a lot more than we’ve got. There have been games we’ve been really dominant we haven’t found a way, and yet to play as poorly as we did tonight and still score two goals away from home is pleasing.

“Let’s give the goalie and defence and the midfield credit, they put their bodies on the line, stopped a lot of crosses, won headers in the box. It takes different ways to win football matches, you can’t play silky soccer every week, there aren’t many teams like Manchester City who can dominate the ball and pop it about and score three or four every week, not in this league anyway.”

Former Huddersfield man Pritchard was booed every time he touched the ball by the home fans on his return to the John Smith’s Stadium, but silenced those supporters with his goal early in the second half.

Mowbray said: “I told him before the game, you’ll score tonight son. He slipped over in the far corner and got pelters off their fans didn’t he. It’s difficult when you go back to a football club, you want to do well and sometimes try too hard.

“It’s good for Pritchard. He’s unique. He’s a fiery little guy with an opinion on everything He was taking some flak but good for him and good for the fans.”