Ross con­cedes his side has its faults but sees no need to panic

BOSS HAPPY WITH CATS’ SOLID START TO SEA­SON

The Chronicle - - Safc - By JAMES HUNTER Foot­ball Writer @JHun­terChron

SUN­DER­LAND’S abil­ity to grind out re­sults even while fail­ing to hit top gear has meant there is no sense of ‘panic’ on Wearside while Jack Ross ad­dresses his side’s short­com­ings.

De­spite strug­gling to pro­duce con­sis­tent per­for­mances so far, the Black Cats re­main un­beaten af­ter seven League One games and lie in fourth place, just two points out­side the au­to­matic pro­mo­tion spots.

Ross knows Sun­der­land must stop con­ced­ing the first goal in games, as they have five times this sea­son, and tighten up at set-pieces with all but one of the six goals they have con­ceded com­ing from such sit­u­a­tions.

How­ever, he ad­mits th­ese prob­lems are eas­ier to tackle while his team con­tin­ues to pick up points.

“The fact we are get­ting re­sults means it is less pres­surised in terms of ad­dress­ing it,” said Ross, whose side has won four out of seven games.

“You can do it in a much more pos­i­tive man­ner be­cause the play­ers don’t see it as a panic sit­u­a­tion.

“It is im­por­tant to do it even though we are un­beaten be­cause when you go through a sticky spell the play­ers will know it is some­thing you do any­way rather than think­ing, ‘he is pan­ick­ing, we are in cri­sis.’

“That con­sis­tency should help the play­ers.

“They know they can be bet­ter in­di­vid­u­ally but they also know that, given the av­er­age pointsper-game we have aken this sea­son, if that is repli­cated over the whole sea­son we will be pro­moted.

“That has been a good thing to show the play­ers.

“To say ‘this is what we can do bet­ter but equally if you repli­cate what you’re do­ing, we will get suc­cess.’

Only in the 3-0 home win against Scun­thorpe United last month did Sun­der­land’s per­for­mance look like that of pro­mo­tion favourites.

In other games, the Black Cats’ form has been patchy – although they have shown deep re­serves of char­ac­ter to come back af­ter con­ced­ing the open­ing goal, go­ing on to win three times and draw twice.

Ross added: “I would prob­a­bly take more com­fort if I felt as if we were at the lev­els I think we can get to.

“Bal­anced with that is the re­silience we have shown to get re­sults and there have been pe­ri­ods in ev­ery game where we have seen so many good things and it is just get­ting it all to come to­gether.

“Last Sun­day morn­ing I watched the Fleetwood game back and the last 15 min­utes of the first half were re­ally good.

“Not just al­right, re­ally good. We dom­i­nated and scored, the lat­ter part of the sec­ond half again was good. We’re not go­ing to dom­i­nate for 90 min­utes. “It is just a case of mak­ing sure in the pe­ri­ods when we are not dom­i­nant in games we don’t con­cede goals.” Not only have Sun­der­land con­ceded the first goal in five games but in each of those fix­tures they have been caught cold by early strikes. Four times they have fallen be­hind inside the open­ing 10 min­utes of games and on the fifth oc­ca­sion they held out only un­til the quar­ter-hour. Ross said: “We did a lit­tle pre­sen­ta­tion to the play­ers in the week just to em­pha­sise to them if you take those first 15 min­utes out we would be hav­ing a re­ally, re­ally good sea­son. “The sta­tis­tics back that up and it is good for the play­ers to see that. “They can see that if we can sort that out then we can po­ten­tially win a lot of games.”

It is just a case of mak­ing sure in the pe­ri­ods when we are not dom­i­nant in games we do not con­cede goals Jack Ross

Black Cats boss Jack Ross

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