Jack Ross reveals Lee Cattermole's reaction to his penalty miss - and backs Sunderland veteran to bounce back
Jack Ross has backed Lee Cattermole to bounce back from his Wembley penalty heartache - and help lead Sunderland to promotion.
The midfielder was arguably a standout performer during the 120 minutes against Portsmouth, but his penalty miss ultimately proved costly as the Black Cats saw their hopes of lifting the Checkatrade Trophy cruelly disappear.
But Ross believes the 31-year-old will have no difficulty in bouncing back from the blow, insisting that he has already demonstrated his mental character throughout his playing career to date.
He does know, though, that the ‘soreness’ will not fade away quickly - not just among Cattermole, but the entire squad.
And the Sunderland boss has challenged his squad to wipe away that disappointment by achieving their aim of automatic promotion.
“He’s okay,” said Ross, when asked how the experienced midfielder had reacted to.
“As I said, the whole group is sore and in pain - and he is.
“There’s two sides of that as you don’t have the career in the game that he has had without having strength of character.
“However, you also don’t have a career without an enormous amount of pride in what you do. So that soreness, if you like, there’s nothing that will take that away. Only time will help that disappear a little bit.
“And then we have our immediate aim to try and rectify that disappointment individually and collectively by achieving promotion.
“What we’ve done today and this season has been very much as a group of players and staff, and any disappointment we’ve felt from today and the circumstances will be felt as a group as well.”
Ross confirmed that the Black Cats, including Cattermole, has practiced penalties prior to the final - but said this was nothing out of the ordinary.
And he has no qualms over the players who put themselves forward for the spot kicks, having backed each of them to find the net.
“The players do [practice penalties] anyway, but in the build-up to this game we were quite thorough anyway in our preparations,” admitted Ross.
“Every single player that took a penalty believed that they would score it, and I believed they would score it.
“The harsh reality of a penalty shoot-out is that someone from one side will miss at some point.”