Jack Ross discusses how Sunderland managed to strike the right balance in defence and attack

Jon McLaughlin.
Jon McLaughlin.
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Jack Ross believes his Sunderland side have struck the right balance between defensive resilience and attacking flair as they look to extend their winning run.

Sunderland head into today’s home game against Southend United on the back of victories over Bradford City, Shrewsbury Town and Doncaster Rovers.

A key feature has been the strong defensive showing, with back-to-back clean sheets after managing just one in their opening 12 fixtures.

Ross is pleased the new-found resilience hasn’t come at a cost to the open, creative, attacking style of football he favours.

“We’re the only team in the league that hasn’t failed to score on any occasion, so because of that we obviously play in a certain manner and look like we always want to create,” said Ross.

“That makes it even more challenging to keep clean sheets because of the way we ask players to play.

“But over the course of the season, I do think our defensive players have been good.

“I don’t think we’ve been cut open on a huge amount of occasions, although we weren’t defending set pieces well enough in the opening seven games.

“But in the seven games after, we’ve looked more and more secure defensively.

“I’m pleased for Jon [McLaughlin], the defensive unit and the rest of the team. Particularly for the defensive unit, that have now got that tangible reward in clean sheets which is obviously something that they will pride themselves on.

“We want them to take that enjoyment from getting them and increase the numbers of them that we have.” After three consecutive league away games, Ross is pleased to be back on home soil.

He added: “It’s not an easy league to put together a consecutive run of results, not just for us but for any club in the league, so having started with three consecutive victories away from home we want to continue that.

“By and large, the home performances have been good and the home results have been decent as well, and we want to continue that.”