Post Southend Craic

Sunderland lost 2-1 to Southend and have only picked up six points from the last seven games. As a result we’ve finished fifth and will now face Portsmouth (again) in the play-off semi-finals. “We were really poor today,” admitted Ross. “First half in particular. However, with the exception of the latter stages of the Fleetwood game, we hadn’t been performing poorly. Performances had been okay. It was a reality check for some of us, individually and as a team, in terms of the levels we have to be at. We’ve not dipped below them very often this season, but we’ve dipped way below them today. We’ve been beaten by a hungrier team. Obviously, they had a lot of play for today, but that should not be the case. I don’t think we had a lot to play for in terms of the play-offs – who we were going to be playing, whether it would be home or away – it was more that our motivation should have been to win the game. That should always be huge for us, every single game, and that disappoints me. We huffed and puffed a bit in the second half, but in the first half we were way short of where we should be at. Today has bothered me performance wise, and the latter stages of the game at Fleetwood, but prior to that, I thought we had been displaying a bit of consistency, which I was pleased about. Today was a long way short of it, but it was probably a team that will vary considerably from the team that plays in the play-offs. That’s the truth.”

Ross also gave an injury update on Lee Cattermole, George Honeyman, Lewis Morgan and Aiden McGeady. “Lee just had a couple of minor knocks, so it was a sensible decision not to play him,” said Ross. “He’s had a lot of games and has been playing well. Aiden, we hope will benefit from this extended break he’s had and be back available. Lewis suffered concussion in training, otherwise he’d have been involved, but he’ll be back training in the next couple of days once the protocols are followed. George has had an ongoing problem with his knee, so we were able to get some work done on that by missing today. All four of them will join back training this week, which is obviously a big boost for us.”