Jack Ross reflects on Sunderland's cup win, system change and the selection dilemmas he now has
Jack Ross praised his Sunderland players for giving him some big selection dilemmas ahead of two crunch League One fixtures.
Ross had challenged his fringe players to take their chance against Accrington Stanley after a frustrating start to the league campaign.
A 3-1 win means he has some big calls to make, with Portsmouth visiting the Stadium of Light on Saturday before a trip to Rochdale next Tuesday.
“I said there were parts of the game we were disappointed with on Saturday, but in the second half I thought we got the fundamentals better and we carried that into tonight,” Ross said.
“You need to do that against a team in this league, then you hope you have the quality you have will come through. I thought that was the case tonight. We created a lot of chances. I was frustrated when we conceded because I thought we had control of the game, we have to learn from that, but then the reaction to conceding was good.
“We were always going to make changes, but the start to the season has been a bit frustrating, so I think players recognise without me telling them that there were opportunities for them to impress tonight and make my job more difficult in terms of the teams I pick moving forward.
“It’s pleasing that they all contributed. Then you add to that the fact that the players that came off the bench also had a positive impact as well.”
Ross moved away from the back three he had played through the early part of the season, and insists he is not wedded to any one particular system.
“I think that we wanted to develop an understanding [in pre-season] that allowed us to change either in game or for games,” he said.
“We played a back four for 60 minutes on Saturday and we changed it because we hadn’t affected the game.
“Tonight, I wanted to play two strikers and I thought with the personnel the best way to do that was in a four. It’s just about picking teams and systems that suit the games. Yes, you want continuity, that helps, but you have to have flexibility as well.”