Jack Ross reveals half-time message in Sunderland's 2-0 win over Shrewsbury and hails key subs that turned game

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.
Sunderland manager Jack Ross.
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Jack Ross has praised the new-found resilience within his Sunderland side, with a touch of quality helping the club beat Shrewsbury Town 2-0.

Sunderland moved up to third in League One thanks to a hard fought victory over the Shrews at New Meadow, an own goal from Omar Beckles on the hour mark followed up by Luke O'Nien's first goal for the club.

Sunderland were made to work hard for the win, the hosts the better side for the opening 45 minutes.

Ross made decisive substitutions with skipper George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch replacing the ineffective Josh Maja and Aiden McGeady early in the second half.

Both had an instant impact, Gooch providing the assist for Beckles own goal.

And he was also heavily involved in O'Nien's second late on, Sunderland sealing back-to-back wins ahead of Tuesday's trip to promotion rivals Doncaster Rovers.

Ross said: "There were bits of today that pleased me more than when we have played better just because we were getting better at doing the other side of the game that you need to do in this league. We showed that again. It wasn't an easy game.

"We toughed it out, kept a clean sheet and that was important, it gave us a platform.

"We would always show glimpses of quality, the goals scored were good quality. It helps strengthen their belief and getting that reward from playing in that manner was important.

"You enjoy each and every win, make sure the players enjoy them regardless how they come around.

"The point you make is those performances at home we know we are capable of doing that, these are the ones people would have question marks over it, not because we are not capable, because it was a big adjustment for them. We are showing we are capable.

"Burton was a watershed for us in that respect. Post that game away from home we have been a lot more resilient."

Sunderland were poor in the first half, a much-improved second half led the Black Cats to victory.

Asked what the half-time message to his players was, Ross added: "Sometimes we have a tendency to slip back and play in a way that encourages the opposition, too many short passes in tight areas.

"We started well then gave them encouragement. We have to recognise not to do that, we defended well in that period.

"We knew we would make changes early in that half.

"Leaving George and Lynden out was a big decision, they have both been really good for me and bring dynamics to the team that I like.

"It was great to have that dynamic from the bench. Those two - plus Luke - all played a big part in us winning the game."