Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone has praised head coach Gus Poyet for bringing organisation to the chaos he inherited from Paolo di Canio.
The Uruguayan head coach will celebrate a year in his job at the Stadium of Light next week with the club sitting comfortably in mid-table in the Barclays Premier League as a result of Saturday's 3-1 home victory over Stoke.
That win was the Black Cats' first in the league this season, but a return of five draws and a single defeat from the previous six is a measure of the organisation instilled under Poyet, who arrived on Wearside to take charge of a team which had collected one solitary point from the 21 it had contested under Di Canio and caretaker Kevin Ball.
Mannone, who watched all those games from the substitutes' bench as Keiren Westwood's deputy, said: "You see the difference from last year to this one. I think we are very solid. We have a base and we know where we are going.
"Each game, we have been in the game at least and trying to get as much as possible from the game, even if we didn't play well sometimes.
"That's the big difference - last year, we weren't at the start. We gave it up a little bit and even if we were fighting, we were fighting in the wrong manner.
"This season the big one, I will say, is organisation."
If Sunderland have been more difficult to beat under Poyet - only promoted QPR have managed it in the league to date this season - their failing has been largely at the other end of the pitch, where they had managed only five goals in their first six outings, none of them scored by a striker.
Poyet has remained convinced that his frontmen would eventually find the net and gave two of them another chance to prove him right against the Potters when, having opted to leave £20million worth of midfield talent sitting on the bench in the shape of Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson, he restored Steven Fletcher to the starting line-up and asked Connor Wickham to resume the wide lift-sided role he had filled earlier in the season.
Fletcher, who had been left out of the 18 for Tottenham's visit to the north-east last month, responded in just the manner the South American would have hoped, producing the fifth-minute cross from which Wickham headed home his first league goal of the season, and then helping himself to a double, his first goals since December 28.
Mannone, just like his manager, was delighted to see the pair reap the rewards of their hard work.
He said: "I need to be as calm as I can and try to help the team, but on the opposite side, you need all the anger in the world to find the net.
"You finally saw today our strikers, they really wanted to put that ball in the net, especially because it's not nice for anybody to get judged every time because we are not scoring.
"They work during the week, they work really hard on finishing, and that was a nice view from behind."
Charlie Adam had briefly dragged Stoke back into the game with a 15th-minute equaliser after Victor Moses, who limped off minutes later with a recurrence of a thigh injury, took advantage of a lack of concentration in the Sunderland ranks to mount a swift counter-attack.
But the Black Cats were good value for their win on a day when the frustrations of recent weeks - they had failed to score in three of their four previous league games - melted away.
Mannone said: "Two days ago, we could have said we have had a difficult start; today we can say it's a great start, mid-table. It's a funny game."
Stoke boss Mark Hughes was disappointed with his side's showing, if appreciative of the efforts of Adam.
He said: "Charlie did well on the day and was probably one of the few bright lights in terms of performance of the individuals in our team.
"He will always give everything, Charlie. It was a good finish, but we needed a little bit more of that from the other players around him as well. We know we are a lot better than that."
Meanwhile, Poyet's pleasure was tempered by the news that Sebastian Coates, Ricky Alvarez and Emanuele Giaccherini could be facing lengthy spells on the sidelines through injury.