Richards told BBC Sport: "It was frustrating for me to miss that game through injury. I was kicking every ball - like any player I just wanted to be out there.
"I went down to the changing room afterwards just to congratulate everybody because it was not an easy game.
"Sunderland work hard and have some good players. It was never going to be a walkover so it was a good three points to get.
"We did not play well, and people may say we are riding our luck at the moment, but we are not third for no reason."