Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has admitted to putting on a 'brave face' during his side's 14-match winless run last season. After a 1-0 win over Arsenal in November, they failed to taste victory again until March after a miserable winter.
The Black Cats picked up 17 points from their last 11 games, ending the season with a flourish and a 13th-placed finish.
He told the club's official website: "You have to keep that equilibrium - not getting too carried away or beating yourself up too badly.
"As a manager you have to be in the middle all the time. If you take water in, people look at you and say - 'look at the state he's in today'.
"You have to make sure you lead from the front and put a brave face on it during the tough times to bring people with you and get out of it.
"Thankfully we came through the bad spell, though it was six weeks too late for my liking.
"When we got our big players back we looked like a better team again."