Sunderland press conference: Jack Ross on Doncaster, injuries and hitting top gear

Jack Ross held his pre-match press conference today ahead of Sunderland's League One trip to Doncaster.

Monday, 22nd October 2018, 2:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 3:26 am
Sunderland manager Jack Ross

There was plenty on the agenda, as the Black Cats boss provided an injury update on Josh Maja and discussed the squad's strength in depth.

Here's the full transcript from the broadcast section of the press conference, including Ross' thoughts on tomorrow's opponents.

Not at your best on Saturday but winning is a good habit

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Sunderland manager Jack Ross

"To achieve any success over the course of a league season you're going to have to do that.

"The game was tough on Saturday, their home record prior to Saturday was very good and the game reflected how well they’ve done at home.

"We’re always going to show moments of quality in the game and as long as we give ourselves a platform to go and win it, obviously we did that at the weekend."

On atmosphere away from home

"It’s been something we’ve had to face all season but the played have adjusted to it.

"It’s not like the group of players haven’t faced big atmospheres before, they’re just different in the sense of Sunderland being in League One and going and visiting a lot of ground which they either haven’t visited before or haven’t done for a long long time.

"That has created an interest around the matches and created an interest for the home supporters and in fairness the home supporters have responded, they’ve given their team terrific backing."

"Then the numbers we’ve taken, we’re going to take another 4,000 tomorrow night so that will ignite the atmosphere.

"But we’ve now adjusted to it I think and I think that’s been reflected in the performance that the players are used to these types of atmospheres."

On hitting top gear

"I suppose it’s the balance between what we’re expected to be like in this league and I think there’s still a little bit of an adjustment for some people that feel we will automatically win games comfortably every week.

"There’s nothing wrong with believing you're going to win every week but it’s tough to do so in this league.

"There is that argument to say that we haven't been absolutely fantastic in any game but there are games which have been good and parts of games that have been good.

"If you break down aspects of our record this season, the number of games we’ve lost, wins we’ve had, the number of goals we’ve scored, we’ve scored in every game.

"Even Defensively, I get asked about clean sheets but I think we’ve got the fourth best defence in the league.

"There’s a lot of things when you break them down individually that I think we’ve been good.

"If there is a case we’ll get better and that’s reassuring for me as a manager knowing that we’re sitting where we are in the table and improvement is still there for us."

On strength in depth

"I think the depth of the squad is something that should be an advantage for us.

"The quality of that depth is probably more important to stress rather than just the depth of it.

"I’ve also seen it before where clubs have had quality and depth and it doesn't help them.

"My responsibility is to ensure these players are willing to make a contribution.

"The types of players you have within your squad as individuals, there’s none of them whenever they have found themselves not involved have not responded in the correct manner.

"This Saturday was a brilliant example that Lynden and George, who have been really good for me individually for me this season, disappointed obviously because they want to play all the time, but their performances when they went on was brilliant.

"Then Luke O’Nien, who is slightly different because he hasn’t had many opportunities, but has never allowed his approach or his attitude to drop one bit.

"That is is encouraging, it’s alright have the depth and the quality of depth but you need to have the players on the pitch who are hungry to make the most of their opportunity and that’s what we have at the moment."

Will it make a difference psychologically getting in to the top two?

"More physiological for us is knowing we’re on track.

"We speak often enough what we need to achieve over the course of this season points wise, often two points a game will get you pretty close to achieving promotion and a little bit more than that to win the league.

"We’re bang on track for that and we want to nudge that up obviously. I think if we can keep consistently close to that then we’ll be ok.

"I think recent results and performances have strengthened the belief that we can go and have a successful season rather than the table itself.

"I know we’re 13 games in but I still think the table is settling down a little bit, as difficult in this league as it is but I think it might take another half a dozen games before it settles completely into a pattern."

How is Josh Maja?

"He's had an ongoing issue with his ankle. Nothing major, just something that's troubled him a little bit.

"He's had to play with that over the last two or three games.

"It's one of those where we have a duty of how we manage him over the season, because his target should be to play 35, 45 games in the league and cup.

"If he does that at 19 years-old that's great for him moving forward."

"His performance on Saturday dipped below the levels he is showing

"He's going to get that, he's 19 years old and this is the first season he's played consistently week in, week out.

"He hasn't missed a league game since the start of the season and that, not just physically but mentally, is a challenge for a young player.

"It was just one of those days for him where he wasn't at his best, but the contribution he has made this season is great and he'll keep doing that."

Is it difficult having such a quick turnaround?

"It’s been a new experience for me, the travelling aspect of it. It’s not unusual for me to face Saturday, Tuesday games.

"Obviously with Saturday being away from home and a decent travel for us as well and then the turnaround for us to travel again tomorrow albeit a bit closer.

"It limits the amount of time you can work on the pitch with the players, it limits the amount of time you’ve got to get information across but I think we know that beforehand so it’s not as if it comes as a shock when it comes around.

"There’s an adjustment of sort but equally it’s planed for.

"The players went out on the pitch this morning and naturally the results help when you’re looking to fight any fatigue, mentally and physically it diminishes a bit when you’re winning games."