Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis praised his "big hearted" players after coming through a "must not lose" clash at Sunderland.

Saturday's 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light keeps the Eagles three points above the Premier League relegation places.

In a game of few chances, the Black Cats Fabio Borini came closest to breaking Eagles hearts when his second-half effort came back off the woodwork.

Palace held on for a vital point - although the blank marked four games without a goal from open play.

Only Glenn Murray's penalty at Swansea City has found the net in that time.

However, Pulis remains calm in the face of a relegation battle that is heading for the wire.

He said: "Gus [Poyet] said beforehand that this was a 'must-win' game for Sunderland, but I've been in this game long enough to know how quickly things can change around.

"Lose the next three, then win three on the bounce and you're almost there."

He added: "For us, we saw it as 'must not lose' and I couldn't ask any more of my lads - they've got big, big hearts.

"They're very tired in that dressing room, but because they worked so hard I think Julian Speroni has only had to make two saves."

Palace return to the north-east this weekend when they take on Newcastle United.