Jack Ross reveals defensive target for Sunderland this season

Jack Ross is pleased with how his new system is shaping up ahead of the season opener against Oxford United – and he’s revealed his clean sheet target.

Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 16:45 pm
Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

Sunderland have played a 3-4-3 system in pre-season, with Jon McLaughlin in goal behind a back three of Jordan Willis, Conor McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan.

That is the back three expected to start the new season, with Denver Hume and either Lynden Gooch or Luke O’Nien in the wing-back positions.

Ross has been pleased with how his new-look system is shaping up as he targets 20 clean sheets for the season.

On the shape, Ross said: “We have worked hard at it, in order for us to be flexible, getting the personnel to fit the system is important.

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“I feel we have that.

“We are getting better at it, we still need to improve in certain areas but we restricted Heerenveen [on Saturday] and still managed to create chances.

“To finish in the top two you need about 20 clean sheets. We only had 13 last year.

“Yet, our defensive record was still up there in the top four. Turn three of those into clean sheets and you see the difference.

“We wanted to find the right personnel and have a system that made us really solid.”

Sunderland head into the new campaign on the back of the 1-0 friendly defeat to Heerenveen at the Stadium of Light and the 5-2 behind-closed-doors friendly win over Hartlepool United.