Work Hard & Win

Jack Ross wants visiting teams to fear coming to the Stadium of Light. Sounds good. Let’s do it. Ross said: “I don’t want us to come away from the game thinking it is okay to lose and to lose in this stadium, regardless of the opposition and how stretched we are squad wise. It is good for me to hammer home that message and they know that too, the players. The environment has been good. Everything we have asked the players to do, how we have prepared for games differently due to personnel changes etc - I see the players doing it out on the pitch. It is good for me as a manager because one, they are listening to me and two, they are trusting what we are asking them to do. If that continues then we will be okay and if we produce that type of performance in league games here we will give them hard matches. If we keep moving the ball and keep trusting ourselves then league games we will do very well here. We need to make this an unbelievably difficult place to come to. If we play in that manner then opposition teams won’t enjoy playing against us because they will spend a lot of time without the ball, get shifted around but it is about making sure the players keep having faith in that. Sunday will be a tough game, it is about continuing that and trusting in what you do and you will get your rewards. I trust the group. The hardest thing as a manager is putting together a group you trust. The feeling I get back is they take on what you say and agree with it.”

The gaffer also has his troops ready to fight with three games in six days coming up. “It’s a challenging period for us and we knew when the cup game was rescheduled that everything was going to be a little bit out of kilter,” said Ross. “The players have known what the schedule was going to be for a while now and they’ve prepared for it, and we got game time into some who hadn’t had much previously on Thursday. That will stand us in good stead because we will need the squad over this coming six-day period, and the three games that are in there. There is an incentive for the players to go into these three games and win all three, and if they do that then it’s been a really good start for us. That’s the carrot that’s there for them, and that’s the motivating factor.”