Sunderland boss Steve Bruce admits he is content to come away from Craven Cottage with a hard-earned goalless draw.
Bruce took on his former Manchester United team-mate Mark Hughes, but neither boss could mastermind a win amid a dire stalemate of few chances.
The Black Cats, who have won just once away from home this season, move up to sixth in the Premier League with the point and Bruce is embracing the positives.
"I think you're always delighted to pick up a point away from home and I couldn't fault the effort and determination, considering the changes we had to make defensively," he told Sky Sports.
"But we didn't hit anywhere near the standards we're used to. We gave the ball away too often and too cheaply and I think that goes for both sides to be honest.
"I think it was a fair result, a drab nil-nil," he joked.
A hamstring problem forced Anton Ferdinand into an early withdrawal, leaving Bruce short on cover for centre-half and he admits that is a concern.
Ahmed Elmohamady replaced Ferdinand, meaning Nedum Onuoha slotted into centre-half where he put in a formidable display alongside man-of-the-match John Mensah.
"Anton looks as though he's nipped his hamstring, so defensively we've had to shuffle again," added Bruce.
"Mensah was terrific, particularly since he dislocated his shoulder only six weeks ago.
"We know he's a quality act when he's ripe and he's fit, so for him to be the only fit centre-half at the moment is a worry."
Bruce made positive changes in the second half, with Boudewijn Zenden impressing from the bench, and admits he thought the win was there for the taking.
"I just felt as though we needed to go on and win the match and possibly I could have put Bolo [Zenden] on a bit quicker.
"We'll take it and ahead of Christmas there's some good signs. We're young and we'll learn from places like this."