Sunderland’s unbeaten home record in the league was ended by Coventry City on Saturday as Jack Ross' side were beaten 5 – 4 after turning in a shambolic defensive performance. The defeat and results elsewhere mean Sunderland slip to third in the table with Portsmouth and Charlton closing ground in the hunt for the automatic promotion places.
Jack Ross had this to say afterwards: “We’re still in a position where if we win our five games, we get promoted,” said Ross. “What this has done is made the only way we can guarantee that is by winning all five. That is not easy, but it can be done. It brings pressure, and I’m going to need every single player who goes out there to be able to deal with that pressure. I think there’s some of them can do that at the moment, but I need others to come along and find a way of dealing with that too. Individually, some players didn’t play well,” he said. “There’s no pointy shying away from that. But at this stage of the season, with five games to go, it’s not a time for finger pointing and apportioning blame. If you want to blame people, blame me. Don’t blame the players because they’ve given an awful lot this season. But I’m not going to hide away from the fact that some of them individually were way off the levels they need to be at. They have to accept that, they’ll know it, but then they have to respond to it.”
“Coventry are a good team and what they have in forward areas is good,” he added. “I thought they were clinical with their finishing. But we played our own part in creating the opportunities by the decision making because when you play in a certain way, you have to make the right decisions with the ball in particular. Defending is just about as much when you have the ball and then when you go 3-1 down it's difficult to then make the game tighter. You've got to take the chance. The problem was today we were continually chasing the game. The first double substitution, Aiden is miles off being fit. He hasn't trained at all, and we probably gambled with more time on the pitch than we should have done but he wanted to give it a go. So him and Kaz coming on was to chase the game, and Benji coming on is obviously the last role of the dice given that he's an 18-year-old who hasn't played a lot.”