The midfielder came close to a move to Stoke City in January.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "Obviously there was an interest there at the time. It had been talked about for several weeks, though I'd heard nothing.
"And then on the last day of the window news came of Stoke's interest. It all felt a bit rushed to me and I had a good chat to the manager. He told me he didn't want me to go and I told him I didn't want to go.
"So then it was only going to be a case of whether those higher up wanted it to happen. It was out of our hands if the chairman decided he wanted the move to happen.
"But the chairman told me later on that he'd said to the manager: 'If you don't want Lee to go, then he won't go.'
"So that was good to hear, that the manager had the backing of the chairman to keep me at Sunderland.
"Now I just want to concentrate on a massive seven, seven-and-a-half weeks for the club; concentrate on keeping us up so we can start afresh next season and do it right."