The former Manchester United midfielder scored two impressive goals in the first half to ensure the Black Cats remain within touching distance of the sides directly above them in the lower echelons of the Barclays Premier League.
"The forwards, Kenwyne Jones and Daryl Murphy, did particularly well - without them I wouldn't have scored the goals," he told Sky Sports.
"We needed to get three points because things didn't go our way yesterday. The team performance was great, everyone put their shift in and we deserved the three points.
"The gaffer (Roy Keane) said we needed to do our business and stick together as a team. We did well and got the result we needed."
Sunderland boss Keane hailed the performance of his two-goal hero.
Keane said: "We brought Kieran to the club for what you saw today. He's one of the fastest players at the team and when you have a midfielder with pace who can get you a goal it's a massive plus. Kieran gives us something special.
"It was great to keep a clean sheet today and score two goals. I knew there would be no negative energy within the club and I could tell that we were ready for the game today."
Keane singled out striker Jones who returned after missing the Latics defeat with a knee injury with another influential performance up front despite still suffering the after effects of his knock.
Keane added: "There are one or two players who we really struggle to cope without and Kenwyne is nowhere near fit but he showed what a good lad he is and hung in there.
"That's from maybe 60 or 70 per cent fit. I tend to ask my players not to play unless they are 80 per cent fit."