Jack Ross on Fleetwood Town draw and Sunderland's biggest problem

Jack Ross felt his Sunderland team started the game better against Fleetwood Town, but has identified defending set pieces as their biggest weakness at the moment.

Saturday, 8th September 2018, 6:05 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th September 2018, 6:11 pm
Sunderland fell behind for the fifth time this season against Fleetwood Town

For the fifth time this season the Black Cats had to fight back from conceding the first goal, keeping their unbeaten record intact thanks to Josh Maja's equaliser.

Ross was not disappointed with his team's start but insists that they have to improve how they deal with 'the messy side' of the game.

He said: "I don't think we started the game poorly today, that's important.

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"People will focus on it but I think we started it well. More concerning for me is that we've only conceded one goal from open play in the league.

"There's a penalty and a direct free-kick in there which skews it of course but if we defend set pieces better, then we'll win some of these games and improve results again.

"We need to get better at that, and I think generally we need to get better at the messy side of the game.

"By that I mean everybody, players, staff and myself.

"We do work on it and we'll keep doing it until we get better at that. That way we'll keep clean sheets, and we're scoring in every game."

Ross admitted that a draw was a fair result and was impressed with Joey Barton's Fleetwood Town.

He expects them to push for the top places in the league and as such is pleased that his side have maintained their unbeaten start to the season, which he described as 'solid, not spectacular'.

"I think both teams could have won it," Ross said.

"I've no issue with Joey saying his team could have won it because they missed a penalty, but my team hit the post, their keeper pulled off a couple of very good saves.

"It was a good, competitive game, but both teams could have won it.

"I think Fleetwood will stay in the upper echelons of the table, they're a good team and they made it difficult for us today.

"To remain undefeated at this stage of the season, given that we've played some tough teams, is pleasing for us.

"We have to be careful that we don't think we a have a divine right to be at the top of the table, we have to rebuild and we're coming up against teams that are not only competitive but good teams, with good individual players.

"I'm happy with where we're at, I'd like to have won every game, there's things we can get better at, but given everything that's happened it has been a solid, not spectacular start.

"I think we'll get better."