John O'Shea and Aiden McGeady on target as Sunderland win inspires scathing verdict from Derby boss Gary Rowett
Gary Rowett described Derby's 4-1 home defeat to Sunderland as the "worst 90 minutes" of his managerial career as the Black Cats climbed off the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table.
The Derby manager delivered a scathing assessment of his team's display while Sunderland manager Chris Coleman described his side's performance as "huge".
Sunderland went into the game desperate for a win and Derby offered a helping hand with Craig Forsyth heading a goal-bound shot from George Honeyman past a wrong-footed Scott Carson in the 10th minute.
A dreadful mistake by skipper Richard Keogh sent Ashley Fletcher away in the 36th minute but he still had to hold off three defenders before firing low past Carson.
Matej Vydra gave Derby hope with a superb finish from 12 yards in the 42nd minute but Sunderland's two-goal cushion was restored in the 50th minute when Aiden McGeady converted a penalty after Lynden Gooch was tripped by Forsyth.
Fletcher thumped a shot against a post and Paddy McNair's header bounced off the bar but Sunderland's first away win of 2018 was confirmed in the 76th minute when Derby failed to clear a corner and John O'Shea turned the ball in.
Despite the defeat, Derby stay in the top six on goal difference but Rowett said: "It's a difficult night to stand on the sidelines and feel any positives whatsoever.
"Probably in six years of management that's been the worst 90 minutes I've had to sit and watch. I'm not going to discredit Sunderland in any way but all four goals were self-inflicted.
"I've asked the fans to get behind the players all week and I thought they did that but if I'm being honest the players didn't deserve it. I said to them I've got no problem being honest with what I think the game was but what I think some of the players need to do is be honest with themselves.
"I'll be the first one to criticise the people that suggest we haven't got the bottle when the chips are down but after tonight I'm questioning that myself."
Sunderland are now three points from safety and Coleman said: "It was a superb performance and very important because of where we've been in the last nine or 10 games which haven't been good enough.
"So the performance was huge for us. Now Monday is a big test for us because we play with fear at home and we've got to get over that. We haven't won back-to-back games all season so it's a big challenge for us and a big opportunity.
"We are running out of opportunities but we've given ourselves a chance and we've got to capitalise on that."