Jack Ross on Sunderland set piece woe and how he plans to solve problem

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.
Sunderland manager Jack Ross.
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Of the eight goals conceded by Sunderland this season in League One, six have come via set pieces.

Burton's first came from a flowing move down the right wing, Bryan Oviedo unable to prevent Marvin Sordell's cross firing across goal, it deflected into the path of Jamie Allen who made it 1-0 with 19 minutes gone.

Sunderland, dire in the opening 45 minutes, again behind in a league game. It got worse before the break, Burton adding a second from a simple free-kick routine.

David Templeton's free-kick picked out Kyle McFadzean on the penalty spot, the defender planted his header past Jon McLaughlin to make it 2-0, a deficit Sunderland failed to come back from, Chris Maguire's stunning second half strike proving nothing more than a consolation.

The spotlight was again on Sunderland's seeming inability to defend set pieces.

Jack Ross says the players and coaching staff work hard on the training pitches at the Academy of Light on defending set pieces and must continue to do so until it is no longer an issue.

A frustrated Ross said: "We do a huge amount of work on it and I would never shy away from the sheer amount of work we do on the training pitch.

"It doesn't always guarantee success or that certain things will happen. The important thing is you don't then come away from that and throw your toys out the pram and blame the players.

"The responsibility is on me to keep hammering home that message and do it again. We have to keep doing it until we stop conceding.

"It becomes a cheap way to lose goals.

"It is not an exact science. Even when you do that work [on the training ground] there is no guarantee you see that result out on the pitch.

"But it is the only way you give yourselves a chance. We have done a huge amount of work on it. It has to happen on a matchday too.

"It becomes frustrating. The one stat we are miles behind on is clean sheets, that is glaringly obvious.

"If you don't keep them you always have to score two to win and it isn't always easy to do."

Ross denied defending set pieces was becoming a psychological issue for his players.

Asked if the players were nervous when defending set pieces, Ross added: "They shouldn't be, there is enough experience and quality. We have done a lot on it.

"It is not something that has a paranoia around it but it is a problem for us at the moment though. We are encouraging teams to think they can score from them.

"Until we put it right then that will be the case. We have to deal with it better on a matchday."