Jack Ross verdict on victory over South Shields and why Sunderland are stronger this year
Jack Ross believes Sunderland have a much stronger base to build on this pre-season compared to this time last year.
Last summer Sunderland underwent a huge revamp following successive relegations.
There was a new manager at the helm in Ross, new owners in Stewart Donald & Co and 12 new signings to integrate.
Fast forward a year and while Sunderland suffered the heartache of a play-off final defeat to Charlton Athletic, Ross believes the club and squad is in a much stronger and stable position at this stage of pre-season compared to the same time last year, when the squad was in the process of being rebuilt.
Sunderland beat South Shields 2-0 last night thanks to goals from Ethan Robson and Luke O’Nien to kick-off their friendly programme with a win.
Ross said: “We trained before the game as well so it has been relentless for the players so good for them to get on the pitch.
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“The best way for me to gauge it is if I look back at where we were at this stage last season, as a squad and a club and how it felt, we are much further ahead this time round.
“That is an indication of us moving forward.”
Ross deployed a wing-back system with three central defenders against Shields.
Ross added: “I think we have players that are suited to playing different ways, it is about finding the best way of doing that.
“Large parts of the game we were good and we want to make sure we don’t have players isolated high up the park.”