The 21-year-old is top scorer for Joyce's side this term and his superb strike proved enough to see off the Wearsiders at the AJ Bell Stadium. After returning from a successful loan spell at Birmingham City, Lingard has worked hard to push himself into David Moyes' plans and was an unused substitute against Swansea City last month.
"Jesse has been different class," Joyce told MUTV. "His attitude has been great, to come back from starring out on loan to playing Under-21 games that he was doing three years ago and also starring in. He still does the right things all the time. His work-rate was phenomenal and his decision-making was good plus it was a great goal for the boy again."
Despite a bug affecting preparations for the game against the Black Cats, the three points continue the push for a top-four finish and a semi-final spot in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.
"We've had a virus since last Friday," added Joyce. "I didn't know whether we'd get enough players to put a team out. Every credit to four or five of them who wouldn't have played on another night and were running a bit on memory at the end.
"They got out of their sickbeds and had to dig in, show resilience and have the guts to see it through. We're on a good run now and have played good football in the last three games."