Sunderland came from behind to draw 1-1 with Wycombe thanks to a late Josh Maja goal and kept Sunderland’s League One unbeaten home record intact.
Jack Ross had this to say afterwards: “There’s an element of frustration because there was that incentive for us, that tangible reward if we could take it. And I think in terms of how the game panned out, frustration crept into parts of the performance. But the flipside of that is that I don’t think you can ask a group of players to show more willingness and desire to get something from the game, even through there are times when it doesn’t happen in the manner you would like. The response, as it has been all season, was very good. I do get a bit fed up of people saying ‘you’ve got a good squad’ - there have been good squads here before. You have to have a good squad that wants to take part in the game, whether they are starting or coming off the bench. Each and every one of my players, whether they start or come on in a game, have made a contribution and they did that again today - Max, Josh, and Bryan.”
Ross also discussed Josh Maja’s future. Ross said: “I know he will be here with me until minimum January and I would hope longer but you can’t say that with any certainty, but I hope he will be at Sunderland for the foreseeable future. I do know he is enjoying his football and playing regularly and contributing and you sometimes forget how young he is and to score 11 goals he deserves huge credit for that but he is level headed. He knows there are aspects of his game he needs to improve on and he knows he can progress here. I believe we will continue to improve him but there are not that many better clubs than this so there are a whole lot of things for him to consider. There is an element of frustration after this because there was the tangible reward for us and how the game panned out there is frustration. On the flip side I don’t think you could ask the players to show more desire and the response to adversity has been very good. You have to have good squads who want to play in the game and every single player deserves credit for making a contribution to get something from the game and they deserve enormous credit.”
Meanwhile, Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was over the moon with the point. Ainsworth said: “It was a superb performance by the boys. I thought we were the better side in the first half and up to the goal it was very even but after the goal Sunderland piled some serious pressure on us. Once one goal comes at this fantastic football club, the fans are behind them and it could have been two. We've competed with what I think is the league’s best team. Jack Ross is a fantastic manager and this is a proper football club. I don't think teams under-estimate us, I think they respect us. We really do punch above our weight so to come here and be on the front foot was something we wanted to do. It was nice to see little bits of the plan come off. They're a team that should be in a higher division. We stayed next door to the ground. I think teams usually come through a back door, but I said to the stewards I wanted our lads to come in through the front door with our chests out. There's some fabulous names and clubs and players who have come through those doors and my lads deserved that after last season. It would be fantastic to come back one day but there's a couple of fantasy things there. It's one of the biggest gulfs in the league. Clubs like Accrington, Gillingham and Walsall are similar stature to us.”
In other news, Aiden McGeady has been chatting about life under Jack Ross. McGeady said: "A lot of people before the season started asked me if I was going to stay. I never had any problems or said I wanted to leave unless it was going to be like last season. I didn't enjoy last season. No one did. But if a new manager came in with a base and foundation and said, 'here we go, this is how we are going to do it. We're going to have a go and go straight back up,' then that's completely different and I want to be a part of that. I know everyone else does as well. There's definitely more optimism around the place. When you look at the first game of the season, I was injured and watched it from the stands, but the feeling in the stadium was completely different to last season. I don't think we were helped last campaign with all the things that went on off the pitch. Fans came to the games and vented their frustrations at the team and the owners. We weren't playing well either which added to that, but this season has been completely different. Training has been good, it's been enjoyable and fun," added McGeady. “You can talk to the staff and the manager on a personal level and have a bit of banter with them as opposed to seeing him and just saying, 'there's the manager.' I knew him when I played against him in Scotland and I know what I am saying about him is what most people will reflect on as well. Fans are starting to come back and we're starting to get very big numbers for League One games. The way we are playing and the results we are getting - hopefully that will only grow. There's a lot of optimism around the place at the minute, we are going in the right direction but there is still an awful lot of work to do if we want to achieve our goal of getting promotion and bouncing straight back up."
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