Jack Ross gives inside track on the growing self-belief in Sunderland dressing room after 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers

Jack Ross hailed his side's mental strength as they closed the gap further on the top two in League One.

Saturday, 23rd February 2019, 16:42 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd February 2019, 16:47 pm
Luke O'Nien celebrates his goal.

Sunderland's 2-0 win at struggling Bristol Rovers, coupled with Barnsley's goalless draw at promotion rivals Portsmouth, saw the Black Cats cut the gap to second place to two points.

Luke O'Nien's close range finish in the first half gave Sunderland the lead, Aiden McGeady's brilliant free-kick in the second sealing victory.

A clean sheet and three points on the road, and back-to-back wins following the victory over Gillingham ensured this has been a very good week for promotion-chasing Sunderland.

Asked whether the self-belief was growing in the Sunderland camp, Ross said: “There was genuinely no change in the belief in the changing room, I didn't sense that for one moment.

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“It was my job to make sure they maintained that level headedness.

“The players are pleased, satisfied and enjoy the feeling, it is another one knocked off.

“We keep getting results like today, we give ourselves a good chance.

“Even when they were getting a bit more stick [during the recent run of draws] they were good and resilient.

“The have shown time and again they have character.”

Ross added: "As you go towards the end of the season you need to have that mental strength, that character.

“It is about remaining focused and controlling the controllables.

"We have done that really well, it is about concentrating on what we do.

“I don’t have to worry about that side of things.

“To play for this club you have to be resilient and show mental strength, they have shown that in abundance.”

And Ross was full of praise for Luke O'Nien, who scored his fifth goal of the season in the 2-0 win.

Ross added: “Luke will always score goals, he is a very good finisher.

“He's up there with the best finishers at the club, not that he had to show that today but he has that hunger to score goals.”