Sticking with a game-plan which had attracted some criticism when employed at the weekend in a 3-2 victory against Southend United, the Whites carved out a solid defensive performance at the Stadium of Light.
Hill felt his decision to name an unchanged line-up had been fully justified – and the Bolton boss praised the manner his players dug in to protect a clean sheet.
“There’s a lot of decisions you have to make as a manager but it’s when you are at your weakest where you have to come up with things, rather than just go with what you know,” he told The Bolton News.
“I am not in a situation where I want to waste games. Every one of those players have to earn a place on that pitch and show me what they are going to do to affect their opponent.
“I need more than 11, I need a squad or 22-23. But the reflection of the way we played today was what I want every day.”
Pressure on former Bolton boss Phil Parkinson intensified as home fans called for change towards the end of the game.
Hill felt his team were worth at least a point, having created several clear-cut opportunities of their own.
“We had some really good chances and you know you have to play under pressure at Sunderland,” he said. “When you look at what they have got on the bench, let alone the starting 11, they had Will Grigg on the bench and paid a handsome sum for him.
“I was never nervous because the pressure was on them. I think you could see it.
“When you come here you know you need your keeper in good form, you’ll have to withstand some psychological pressure and that there will be a lot of pressure on the referee to make the right decisions too, instead of just listening to the crowd.
“I felt relatively comfortable after conceding too many free kicks around the box in the first 10 minutes but we had chances to win the game, too.
“There was no bigger chance came in the game than Daryl Murphy’s header in the second half and the keeper pulled off a wonderful save.
“Our keeper made great saves too. But I am really pleased for the players and I think it was a courageous performance, it was committed. Sometimes you just have to be better or equal to your opponents in those departments and I think we were.
“If we’d have lost I would have congratulated them for their efforts. But I think we looked like a solid, decent side away from home.”