Neale Cooper was full of praise for his players after they put in a hard pre season shift to beat Sunderland 1-0 at Victoria Park on Friday night.
Steve Howard's early goal was enough to hand Pools the victory against the Premier League outfit but they were made to work for it in the second half when Martin O'Neill's men upped the tempo.
"They had to work very hard for that tonight," Cooper told Pools Player.
"I thought Steve Howard was excellent and deserved his goal; he needs games because he hasn't played a lot at Leicester but he looked a handful tonight.
"It was a really good workout against what was a fantastic Sunderland team; they came at us in the second half but we played very well.
"I'd like to thank Sunderland for sending such a strong side and they were backed with great support, but so we were - for a pre season game it was some atmosphere.
"I have to say the save Scott Flinders made in the second half is genuinely one of the best I've seen in my life - it was like Gordon Banks!
"It was a phenomenal save and he was brilliant all night - having him back there you can see the defence are more confident and I was pleased with them tonight."