Dwight Yorke says Sunderland should be proud of their performance at Manchester United.
The Trinidad & Tobago midfielder was asked to help stand-in manager Ricky Sbragia look after the team following Roy Keane's resignation last week.
And he says Sunderland showed their fans that it is not all doom and gloom after a few days of turmoil.
"No one gave us a chance and we came out of it with some credit," said Yorke. "The players deserve credit for defending like that and being resilient for so long.
"To lose in the way we did, of course we are bitterly disappointed. Nevertheless, there are a lot of positives. One of the things we can take from it is that there's still belief and character in the team, we can go on and get better.
"There was a togetherness and fighting spirit - we could have gone the other way."
Yorke joked that he made sure his name was on the team-sheet when the coaches picked the starting line-up on Friday.
He said: "I already had the heads up that I was going to be involved before the gaffer left, so it was easy to pick myself!"
Yorke was one of the first players to arrive at the Stadium of Light in the Keane regime and he has expressed his sadness at the manager's sudden exit.
"I was saddened when Roy left, he was the man responsible for me coming here," said the 37-year-old. "If it wasn't for him I would not be here. I'm grateful for that and I'm sad to see him go.
"I believe he could have turned things around, but for whatever reason he decided not to. He is his own man and he makes his own decisions. We have seen it happen and we have to crack on.
"I've not spoken to Roy yet, I'm hoping to soon, I just sent him a text."
Yorke is confident that Sunderland can start to pick up points and move away from the relegation zone.
"In Ricky [Sbragia] and Neil [Bailey] we have two experienced coaches who can help stabilise things until the new manager arrives," he said.