The inspirational centre-half added that the anticipation of the three points against the Premiership bottom team was not confined to just the supporters and was delighted to realise maximum profit from the fixture.
"It was nice because it was always going to be a hard game," said Dean, back in the side after missing out at Chelsea with a knee injury.
"The crowd expected us to win I think and, even though you don't like to admit it, we half expected us to win.
"When games are like that it is always harder and you don't seem to find all the gears. It was hard, but we battled well, matched them physically and got the three points."
It was a tricky afternoon for the home defenders, as the Sunderland strikeforce of Kevin Phillips and Michael Proctor kept them on their toes throughout and won their fair share of headers against their much bigger markers.
"Against smaller players you always seem to leave it that bit later to jump," explained Dean. "If they jump early they tend to win it and it is harder to judge the flight of the ball against smaller players.
"They were lively, Phillips is still as sharp as ever and you can't take your eye off him for a minute. He played very well."
Dean also reported that he suffered no reaction to the knee injury he suffered against Newcastle.
"Fine, although I said that last time and then it started to swell. No, it should be fine and hopefully I'll be 100 per cent fit in two weeks."
Dean Richards admitted that conquering expectation was the all-important factor in the win against Sunderland on Saturday.