Sunderland boss Steve Bruce saluted match-winner Darren Bent despite seeing him miss two penalties in a 3-1 win over his former club Tottenham.
The striker took his tally for the season to 23 with a quick-fire first-half double, but was then twice denied from the spot by goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who also saved a Bent penalty at White Hart Lane earlier in the season.
Bruce said: "We mustn't forget he has won us the game. Okay, he is disappointed that he has missed two penalties, but all good players miss penalties."
He added: "I have done so myself - I lost to Sheffield United and then I lost in Russia. I remember [then United chairman] Mr [Martin] Edwards saying, 'Thanks Steve, you have just cost us #12million'. Great players can miss penalties.
"No, in seriousness, we mustn't forget he has been fantastic and again, he has got two goals for us.
"It could have been a wonder-day for him, couldn't it? It wasn't quite, but he has been fantastic for Sunderland and these things happen. It made my life a little bit uncomfortable for a while, but it was a wonderful spectacle."
In a remarkable game, Sunderland raced into 2-0 lead within 29 minutes and inevitably, it was Bent who did the damage. He struck for the first time with 36 seconds on the clock after Gomes could only parry Fraizer Campbell's header and then converted from the spot after Kyle Walker had handed to take his tally for the season to 23.
But he saw two second-half penalties saved by Gomes as the Black Cats failed to kill the game off, and that might have proved costly when Peter Crouch reduced the deficit 18 minutes from time just a few seconds after coming on as a substitute.
Home nerves were calmed four minutes from time when Sunderland substitute Bolo Zenden steered home a sumptuous volley to all but guarantee his side's place in next season's top flight.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp said: "It doesn't bother me, good luck to him (Bent). He's in good form, he scored a couple of goals, so what?" From the neutral's point of view, it was probably a great game. They (Sunderland) were up for it - they don't play like that every week, do they?"
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