Post Port Vale

Jack Ross praised his players after they made it seven successive wins with their 2-1 victory over Port Vale in the FA Cup. “To achieve the number of victories they have done is remarkable. At any level of the game, it’s not easy to keep banging out wins. Even the top teams, it’s very rare they hammer out the consecutive number of victories that we have. I know it’s at a very different level, but when I was Alloa manager, we did ten wins in a row in all competitions. We said to that group of players, ‘You’ll probably not do it again’ because it’s so unusual. The players deserve a huge amount of credit. They’ve done it in lots of different ways – sometimes we’ve been good, sometimes we’ve been average, but we’ve found ways to win games. Hopefully, we’ll keep doing that. The whole group wants to keep that run going. I think that was evident from the way they played.”

Sunderland took an early two goal lead with strikes from Honeyman and Gooch, but Port Vale pulled one back and made life difficult for us. Ross continued: “It was a proper cup tie – especially the middle period of the game. The first half-hour was maybe not what we quite expected because I thought we were really good in that period, and really dominant. If I’m being hyper-critical, maybe we should have scored that third goal that would really have finished the game off. To their credit, Port Vale made a sub and changed their shape, and scored a good goal. That period from 30 minutes in to maybe 70 minutes was proper cup-tie football. We had to defend a lot of balls into our box, but we expected that. It’s not easy to do that at any level of football, and the players deserve a lot of credit for dealing with them in the main.”

The gaffer feels that his players have worked hard and bought into his ethos: “The players are confident, which comes with winning games,” added Ross. “But I’ve also got as group that listen and take on the information they’re given. There’s always frustrations because sometimes they don’t do as much as you would like, but the things we worked on and wanted to do in that first hand, we did it brilliantly. You’ve got to be brave to do it. Sometimes, when we have phases in games where we’re so dominant, we sometimes slip into not keeping on doing it. You’ve just got to keep on doing the same things, but that comes the more you’re in that position. They deserve credit because you forget in that opening period, they’re away from home against a team that I’m sure would have been told to start the game fast and get after us. To start the game in that positive manner was terrific. We’ll see what comes. I was happy to come here today and I enjoyed it. It was a new challenge for us. I’d probably want to avoid teams in our own league, that’s the only thing. I’d rather just face them in league games so anything outwith our league is fine.”

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