Sunderland beat Accrington 3-1 and are two points off the top. Here’s the manager’s craic: “Every time this squad has been asked questions, it has responded and it did that again today,” said Ross. “They haven’t had to answer many questions because we haven’t lost many games, but every time there has been a question to answer they have responded in the right way. I have to remain grounded through good results and bad, but the truth is that we are in a good position in the league and the hysteria that followed Peterborough will disappear - at least, it will for 48 hours or so until we have the next game! The pressure ramps up every time we lose a game, everyone knows that. It’s omnipresent but by and large I think we deal with that. We’ve had a lot of experience coming here in recent times and we know how difficult a venue it is, plus we were up against a team that has been in good form recently. Psychologically, it helped that we scored so soon after going behind. We didn’t start the game well, we gave up a bit of territory early and of course they scored in that period. You don’t know how the game would have panned out otherwise, but to score so quickly after conceding was important because we were level-pegging again. It was an excellent goal from Lynden and the good thing is that he is producing that end product again. He was a bit frustrated that he didn’t show it so much in the second half of last season, but certainly in the early part of this season he is producing in terms of goals and assists. We rely on that bit of individual quality from Aiden at times, as other teams in the league do from their key players, but that’s the type of finish he is capable of producing and we saw that consistently throughout last season. In forward areas we were clinical today and ruthless, and in forward areas I thought we were good.”
The manager also explained the absence of Max Power. “We have good players in all areas of the pitch and any decisions we make are not easy ones. Max is the kind of character and player who wants to play all the time but I just felt that today’s game would suit George. I’ve spoken about how pleased I have been with him, I think he has settled really quickly and every time he has been on the pitch he has made a contribution and you could see that again today.”
He also chose Denver Hume ahead of Laurens De Bock. “As far as Denver is concerned, he’s in possession of the jersey at the moment and he just has to keep on playing well, because the harsh reality of football is that there is always someone on your shoulder looking to take your position. It’s not that he is a young player playing because we have no choice, he is playing because I like him. There are things for him to improve upon and we will keep working with him, but he played his part in a win today and he should feel pleased with himself.”
Player ratings vs Accrington
By Daniel McCallum
Jon McLaughlin (6/10): Possibly could have done better for the Accrington goal. Other than that, didn’t have too much to do. Distribution was good.
Luke O’Nien (7/10): Didn’t do much wrong.
Alim Ozturk (6/10): Shocking first half but grew into it as the game went on.
Jordan Willis (7/10): Solid at the back and decent on the ball.
Denver Hume (7/10): Decent link up play with McGeady on the left. Didn’t have much to do defensively.
Grant Leadbitter (6/10): Tried to spray passed about but struggled a bit. Got booked for a daft tackle early on, which held him back.
George Dobson (7/10): Made a lot of tackles and got around the pitch well. Covered well for Leadbitter’s immobility.
Lynden Gooch (7/10): Great goal for the equaliser, and an energetic performance as usual from Gooch.
Aiden McGeady (7/10): Brilliant finish to put us ahead. Looked a class above all game whilst keeping possession.
Chris Maguire (6/10): Largely ineffective despite his best efforts.
Marc McNulty (7/10): Simple finish for our third. Energetic and pressed well.
Will Grigg (6/10): Pressed well and probably should have scored.
Elliot Embleton (5/10): Couldn’t impact the game.
Dylan McGeouch (6/10): Saw out the game easily.