Martin O'Neill is happy to be watching the fight for Barclays Premier League survival from afar as Sunderland's season ends with a whimper.
The Black Cats boss freely admits that he did not expect to be safe in mid-table at this point in the campaign when he took over from Steve Bruce in December.
The point they took from Saturday's 2-2 home draw with relegation-battling Bolton was enough to mathematically confirm their safety, something which has not really been in doubt since the recovery inspired by the Ulsterman took them on a run of nine wins and two draws in 16 games.
However, as he reflected upon a sixth successive league outing without a victory, he was able to take a philosophical view.
O'Neill said: "You look at the results today - Wigan have gone and beaten Newcastle United, and teams are fighting for their lives.
"We could so easily have been in that position ourselves here, and we would have been on tenterhooks, really, at the end of the season.
"I am delighted we haven't been, but there's lots to ponder, lots to consider."
Whatever else will occupy his mind over the next few weeks, O'Neill's main focus will be the composition of his frontline for the new campaign.
Nicklas Bendtner, the man signed on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal by Bruce as Asamoah Gyan made his shock exit to United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain, scored his eighth goal of the campaign to take himself into a three-way tie with Stephane Sessegnon and Sebastian Larsson as leading scorers, a telling statistic which O'Neill knows must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The Denmark international is unlikely to be on Wearside next season and with Gyan's future too seemingly lying elsewhere, the Black Cats have major work to do.
Bolton's need, of course, is more pressing, and the point they claimed in the north-east may yet prove to be hugely significant to their hopes of securing another of Premier League football.
Kevin Davies volleyed them into the lead after 26 minutes and then rescued a point with a 70th minute header after Bendtner and James McClean had turned the game around.
It took a smart reaction save from keeper Craig Gordon, playing his first game of the season, to deny substitute Ivan Klasnic an 87th-minute winner and it was the visitors who left the pitch the happier, although perhaps feeling they should have been doing so with maximum points.
Black Cats defender Michael Turner said: "We are frustrated. To come from behind and be in the lead - we felt in control and that we could go on and maybe score another goal, so to concede a goal was bitterly disappointing.
"The third goal would have probably seen them off, but all credit to them, they are fighting in the bottom there and they came here and got a good draw."
Bolton boss Owen Coyle remains defiantly optimistic about his side's prospects of avoiding the drop despite the table showing them sitting uncomfortably just below the safety line.
He said: "Craig Gordon had a couple of wonderful saves late on, in particular for me from Klasnic, so the short answer to the question is yes, it could be a magnificent point, but equally, I felt we could have had all three."
Coyle is confident the spirit within his squad, epitomised by skipper Davies, will help to see them through, and hinted that teenage midfielder Josh Vela, who came on as a second-half substitute, may have a role to play.
He said: "I have said before, this is a special talent, this boy Josh Vela who come on in the game, 18 years of age and he stepped into that arena as if he played in it every week, showed composure and a great eye for it.
"We have no fear of putting him in. Regardless of what age the kids are, if they are good enough, we are going to play them, and he stepped up today."