The 48-year old former Black Cats player has taken the reins momentarily following the sacking of Paolo Di Canio last weekend but he could not back up the Capital One Cup win over Peterborough United midweek as they faltered at the Stadium of Light.
But Ball suggests it was a decent showing from Sunderland who remain rooted to the foot of the Premier League table with just one point from six outings.
"I'd be a fool if I hadn't been encouraged by it. A lot of credit should be given to them,” he said.
"They have worked hard his week. Yes, they would have liked to have got a result in the game today, but it definitely wasn't for the want of trying.
"Going forward, I have told them that must always be the case. Irrespective of whoever is in charge, they must be the ones who drive it on and not necessarily the man in charge."