Jack Ross hits out at 'passive' first half Sunderland display against basement side Bolton Wanderers

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Jack Ross hit out at his Sunderland side’s ‘passive’ first half display in the 1-1 draw away to Bolton Wanderers but praised his players for getting something from the game.

Jack Hobbs hooked Bolton in front five minutes after half-time, an awful goal for Sunderland to concede from a free-kick before Aiden McGeady rescued a point in added-on time.

Sunderland, who hit the woodwork twice, were wasteful and barely deserved a point - this their fourth 1-1 draw of the campaign.

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Ross, who came under fire from the 4,000-strong travelling Sunderland support, said: “We didn't play well in the first half. We still created opportunities first half but we didn't play great.

Jack Ross, Sunderland boss, watches on at Bolton Wanderers.Jack Ross, Sunderland boss, watches on at Bolton Wanderers.
Jack Ross, Sunderland boss, watches on at Bolton Wanderers.

“Our response to going behind was good and then we create a lot of opportunities and on another day we could have scored more goals.

“In fairness to the players their courage to keep pushing right to the end was evident because it looked like it wasn't going to happen for them. They got their reward eventually in terms of the penalty.

“There was frustration in terms of the number of opportunities we created and didn't score.

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“I've said it already, so it's not as if there's an elephant in the room in terms of keeping clean sheets because it makes things tough in competitive games.”

When asked what upset him most about the display, Ross added: “We were quite passive in the first half. We came up against a team that were competitive and were at it.

“Although we showed bits of quality in the first half to create opportunities, we looked a little bit laboured. Post-goal there was more spark about us, more courage about our overall play. We've got to do that all the time.

“That was probably the most frustrating part because I think we showed in our reaction to the goal that they're capable of pinning teams in and being relentless in their forward play because when you are relentless the chances obviously increase that you will score in that period.”

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Basement side Bolton Wanderers hadn’t even scored in the league at home before today, the club signing ten players on deadline day following a takeover deal.

When asked if there was more scrutiny on the result because it was Bolton, Ross added: “That's neither here nor there to me.

“It's a very different Bolton side to the one that's played earlier in the season. Their performance in midweek and with what they produced today they're a much better team than they were earlier in the season, very obviously because they've got better players.

“But our play towards the last 45 minutes showed if we'd produced that for longer I think we'd have won the game.

“As I mentioned already on the balance (of play), the number of chances we created, we probably still should have won the game.”