Sunderland AFC press conference: Jack Ross talks Plymouth Argyle, creating a positive environment and guarding against complacency

Jack Ross held his pre-match press conference earlier today ahead of Sunderland's long trip to Plymouth.

Thursday, 1st November 2018, 2:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st November 2018, 3:23 pm
Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

The Black Cats boss was asked if his side have to guard against complacency as they go for their fifth league win in a row.

He also provided an injury update on Charlie Wyke, Duncan Watmore and Glenn Loovens, and spoke about the team hitting top form.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

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Read Ross' full TV transcript below, ahead of the trip to Home Park:

Many people don't believe you've hit top form yet

"It’s an interesting opinion and it’s probably one you could probably argue for and against.

"You may argue for it because we haven’t absolutely battered a team this season but it may be in the alignment of when we came into this division that it would be quite straight forward.

"A lot of people have grown to understand that it’s a tough league and it’s not easy to win games.

"I would agree to an extent, have we pulled it together for a complete 90-minute period? Probably not.

"But there’s been enough good performances, partly within games and over the course of a game, to be happy with, I think we’ve shown already with the positive results.

"If there is improvement to come within the squad, and I think there is improvement, that will stand us in good stead as well."

Ross on Plymouth

"This league is quite intriguing because the teams you’ve either faced or come up against, the form and their position can change quite dramatically.

"If you look at maybe six weeks ago, people would have pointed to us not playing many of the teams who were in the top half.

"If you look now, we’ve probably played a lot of them because some of those teams, for example Coventry who were bottom half and have had an outstanding run which takes them top half and people look at them in a different way.

"Similar with Plymouth, they’ve had a really difficult season but results recently have been positive and everything I’ve seen of them, the manner in which they play, even when they weren’t getting results is fairly open and expansive.

"Those types of opposition have suited us better this season."

Ross on injuries

"Glenn will come back into the squad for travelling, he has had a couple of weeks of full training now.

"Ideally he would have liked to get some game time but it’s not always possible. He has trained fine, no reaction, and is back into the squad.

"All the other longer term players are still unavailable but hopefully as every week goes on each and everyone one of them is closer to coming back."

On Charlie Wyke and Duncan Watmore?

"Charlie is where we expected him to be. The time frame was always around about Christmas time for his return.

"I think he feels that it might be a bit earlier than that.

"He had a similar type of injury at the start of the season and I think he feels better than that time and also we were probably rushing him.

"We’ll put less pressure on him this time, there was a real urgency to get him back available because we had limited options in forward areas.

"We have a little bit more depth, not a huge amount, so we’re prepared to be a little bit more flexible.

"Duncan has now completed three weeks with full training, with a full squad each and every day, which is a brilliant step forward for him.

"As we leaked into November I think that is 11 months of his rehabilitation period, which second time around from that injury is a good benchmark to get to.

"We are now closer to getting him some game time whether that be behind closed doors or an U23 game and if he does that, that would take him close again.

"I would expect certainly before the end of the year we'll have Duncan back available.”

On wearing black armbands and Leicester tragedy

"It’s unforeseen in tragic circumstances and whenever there’s a tragic accident like that I think it brings a real sense of perspective to the game.

"In a game which is full of opinion and emotion, and that emotion and opinion cam sometimes overstep the mark, so I think it’s probably a readjustment in how people perceive the game.

"If we are able to pay our respects in the same manner that’s important."

Do you have to guard against complacency?

"From my side no. My approach, even in my previous job sometimes it takes the enjoyment away, but when I won the league last year I still did things in the same manner.

"It’s been the same here, whether we’ve played well, won, drawn or lost, there’s been the same consistency and approach, obviously adapting it to different challenges

"Conversely for the players, rather than there being any complacency, they’re absolutely loving playing football at the moment.

"They’re desperate to get back on the pitch, to play and bang out positive results so I don’t sense it in anyway.

"The group of players trained brilliantly this morning, it’s one of the sessions as a manager where you think we’ve got a really good squad here.

"They were really at it and I think that reflects how they feel at the moment."

On dealing with setbacks this season?

"It is very easy as a manager to assume all credit when it goes well, it’s important to remember there is an element of fortune in football management.

"You believe in what you do and the environment you create within the club. Because of the circumstances this season, we’ve had to rely on the squad

"It has helped foster a unity within them very quickly and also an understanding that they need to be at their best to keep their place in the team.

"There have been challenges which on the face of it look more challenging because you have to deal with all these absentees.

"By getting results I think it lends itself to a more positive environment moving forward and I think that’s where we’re at at the moment."

On Plymouth and Derek Adams?

"I have commented previously on the unpredictability of the line-ups and systems and what teams will do.

"What helps a little bit is they’ve won their last two games and they’ve played the same team and in the same way in those two games. For my sake in terms of preparation I would hope they do the same.

"It highlights the difficulties of not just winning this league but putting a run of results together in in because of the challenges you face week in week out.

"Saturday will be the same, every away game has been challenging and this one becomes even more challenging because of the logistics involved with the travelling."

On Adams?

"I know Derek from his playing days and his management days in Scotland.

"He has done exceptionally well since he came from Scottish football to Plymouth.

"I know it’s been publicized the amount of criticism he’s received recently and how positive an impact he’s had at the club can be overlooked.

"He maybe went slightly under the radar in Scotland, he has done a terrific job consistently. It will be nice to come up against him on Saturday."