Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has told Bobby Zamora not to listen to his critics because he is happy with the striker's overall performances at Craven Cottage.
Zamora has hardly been prolific since arriving from West Ham at the start of last season - his winner against Sunderland yesterday was only his 10th for Fulham - but his physical presence in attack has led to comparisons with Emile Heskey.
After heading his goal against Steve Bruce's men, Zamora angrily taunted his own supporters after they criticised him.
"Maybe he reads too many of these blogs that people write in to," said Hodgson.
"Our fans in the Hammersmith end actually constantly chant his name. But these people who write in to the club's blogs, they're the real experts and they want something that he's not been able to give them - 30 goals a year. But he has been a key player for us."
Zamora troubled Michael Turner and Nyron Nosworthy in the same way Heskey does for England at international level - and neither strikers have good scoring records.
Trinidad and Tobago have sounded out Zamora about playing for them but he is still eligible for England if Fabio Capello calls on the 28-year-old.
Hodgson added: "Heskey is a very powerful player, a very willing player and a hard working player. Bobby is more technical.
"It was quite interesting being on a panel with Terry Venables the other day, discussing World Cup squads. He's got experience of that from Euro 96 and me from the World Cup.
"You could also make a case for one or two more unusual selections, players who maybe have something a little bit extra. He was talking about Ledley King.
"If you perpetuated that argument, you might come up with an argument for someone like a Bobby Zamora, the type of player who we don't have too many like in the English Premiership."
Black Cats boss Steve Bruce was upset with his side's first-half performance, meaning they are still in the top half despite having only won once away from home all season.
"We've got to do something away from home to get this monkey off our backs," he said.
"But you won't win a game in the Premier League if you play like we did in the first half.
"I don't remember a side this Jekyll and Hyde, and it's pretty alarming. I'll have to do something about it.
"We had thousands (of fans) here, and thousands at Wigan, and we're not doing enough."