Aiden McGeady’s double ensured a sixth Sunderland win on the bounce as Sunderland moved up to second in the League One table.
Speaking after the game, Jack Ross said: "I thought, with the exception of that 15/20 minute period in the second half where we lost a little bit of control of the game, it was maybe as good as we have played away from home, in terms of dominating the game. I stressed at half-time to remain patient and to continue the things we are good at. I thought we started the second half bright and ultimately that period got a reward with Aiden's goal. I thought in the first half we were good, I couldn't have too much criticism coming away from home and being fairly dominant in the game. They defended their box well in that latter part of the first half and we got a little bit impatient and a little bit narrow, in terms of trying to force things through the middle of the pitch a bit. We have good width in our team, quality in the wide areas. That was one thing we stressed, to keep using that width and then you can penetrate from there. It was one of those days, we have been clinical this season, scoring in every league game is a good achievement. Our forward players have been good but we do a lot of work in training on it and the one thing we always stress is that width and possession in the final third because it helps to stretch teams.”
In other news, Jack Ross has also been chatting about how important it is that players looked after internally, to help them settle in the area, after moving to a new club. Ross moved to Hartlepool United in 2004 and suffered from homesickness. “I’ve always tried to reflect on all my experiences and I’ve got a lot better at it as I’ve got older,’’ he said. “The things that I learned from my spell at Hartlepool helped me massively when I was deciding to come here in the first place, and then to adapt to. It was a different period of my life but there are different bits that have helped me. It has also helped me understand that there’s a lot involved for players when they move club. Luke O’Nien has taken a little bit of time to adjust and now we’re seeing the best of him but Luke has moved away from home for the first time and because he’s so young, has moved on his own for the first time. So, he’s not just come to a new area, he’s living on his own for the first time. I wasn’t in that situation, but it probably reminded me to try and take a more holistic approach because there are sometimes a lot of things going on with players that aren’t entirely evident from the training pitch. The job that Leanne Bennett in particular does in particular in terms of assisting players with relocation and everything that goes with it is a tremendous help,’’ he praised. “Naturally it’s a great thing for me to have as a manager. You also try to put together a staff you believe will have an interest in the players’ welfare as well. I’ve got that. I’ve got a staff that are genuinely interested in boys being settled and happy and content and all these things because there is always a knock-on effect to performances on the pitch.’’
Ross then moved onto talking tactics. “We’ve still got a few players out but the balance of the players available has probably been a little bit better,” Ross argued. “The system we’ve played in recent times (4-2-3-1) has been more in line with what I’ve done over my career. If you look back, the higher percentage will be in that manner so it makes it slightly easier for me as a manager because it becomes second nature. The other formations have a bit more work involved in a good way – I enjoy that sometimes. But certainly it feels the personnel now suit my way and everything’s coming together. It’s a balance again between adapting what you have to cope with the opposition and strengthening what you do. There’s a lot of repetition involved in that too to make sure you need to keep doing the things that bring you joy in games. I’ve never felt uncomfortable in the job, I’ve always felt comfortable in the responsibilities and the expectations here,” Ross said. “When you take over a team and you work with a new squad, the longer you work with them, the more accustomed they become to your mannerisms and your way of working. As time has gone on that’s definitely help. I’m probably just more content that players have got an understanding of what I’m asking of them. Hopefully that’s becoming clearer in our performances as well.”
Finally, we have been allocated 4,195 tickets for Port Vale away in the FA Cup. Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, November 1 to season card holders with 10 or more Black Cat points. All season card holders will be able to purchase tickets on Friday, November 2, before they go on general sale on Monday, November 5. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults, £10 for over-65s and under-22s while under-18s will pay £5. You can find more information by visiting the club's website. To book travel with ALS click here