Jack Ross lifts lid on team selection process and why the Sunderland players make it easy

Sunderland’s return to winning ways has coincided with a settled side - and Jack Ross admits the winning streak is making his job far easier.

By Richard Mennear
Monday, 04 March, 2019, 06:33

The 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle was Sunderland’s third straight win, a marked improvement on the run of six draws out of seven before the Black Cats clicked into gear.

The run of draws was threatening automatic promotion hopes.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

But a more settled side, with Jimmy Dunne and Tom Flanagan forging an impressive partnership at the heart of the defence and Lee Cattermole and Grant Leadbitter in front of them, has led to an upturn in results.

Ross made just one change for the visit of Plymouth, with Lewis Morgan starting in place of Duncan Watmore.

Asked if he was clearer about his best team, Ross said: “It’s more that we’re playing well it becomes easier (to pick your best XI).

“Rather than having in your head, ‘That’s my best team,’ it’s more that the team are producing good performances and that makes your selections easier.

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“There was a little period – not counting the home games here because I thought by and large we played well in them – when we weren’t playing brilliantly and it was about trying to find the right blend when you’re not playing well.

“The reality at the moment is that we’ve got players in possession of the jersey and they’re actually playing well individually and collectively.

“If you stripped it all back on Saturday and looked at how they all played individually, I don’t think you could say any of them had a poor game.”

Sunderland dominated the first half, and should have been out of sight at half-time. Lee Cattermole’s fifth of the season gave Sunderland the lead at the break, skipper George Honeyman adding a late second.

Asked how he was feeling when it was ‘only’ 1-0, Ross added: “Of course I wasn’t relaxed but I felt as if we were good.

“They carried a threat, they’ve been on a good run and they’ve got terrific players.

“But in terms of the overall flow of the game, I felt a lot more comfortable than I have in recent times because we had a lot more control of the game both in and out of possession, which is important for us.”