Ross concedes his side has its faults but sees no need to panic
BOSS HAPPY WITH CATS’ SOLID START TO SEASON
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