Jack Ross discusses his new system and how Sunderland are adapting

Jack Ross says he is encouraged with the way his side are adapting to playing three at the back.

By Phil Smith
Friday, 19 July, 2019, 06:00

Ross used the formation for the second time this pre-season against Benfica B, though there was a slight difference in that on this occasion, Charlie Wyke partnered Will Grigg up front.

Sunderland played out a 0-0 stalemate in Albufeira but they did create plenty of chances, twice hitting the woodwork.

Ross is keen for his side to have greater tactical flexibility this season and to that end, he is pleased with the progress being made.

Jack Ross has been using a new formation in pre-season so far

"It was better again," he said.

"We're not doing it to say that it's set in stone that's how we're going to play.

"As I said a couple of weeks ago, I want to have another option to play either at the start of games or during games.

"The truth is the majority of the squad are familiar with a back four because we did that most of last season, so there's a bit of bedding in and there's bits in both halves that we could do better, and bits that we did well," he added.

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"Keeping a clean sheet is pleasing and it's then just about getting everything to work together higher up the pitch.

"In saying that, we still created chances.

"From where we are, and we're still early in doing, even Jordan tonight only had a short time to work on it, I think we're satisfied from what we've seen so far from it."

Ross believes the work done against a lively opponent will stand his side in good stead.

"At this stage of pre-season it's about readying yourself physically and tactically for the start of the season," he said.

"At this stage there's still a lot of getting players physically used to playin again and increasing their gametime.

"What we got tonight, because of the opposition, you get an energy and enthusiasm from them, so it wasn't like the game ever really dipped which meant we had to keep a certain level of intensity.

"So in terms of serving a purpose I think it was good for us."