How Sunderland boss Jack Ross is taking inspiration from Liverpool and Tottenham ahead of play-off meeting with Portsmouth

Sunderland boss Jack Ross is taking inspiration from Liverpool and Tottenham.
Sunderland boss Jack Ross is taking inspiration from Liverpool and Tottenham.
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Sunderland boss Jack Ross doesn't believe playing the second leg away from home will make any difference during the Black Cats' play-off semi-final with Portsmouth.

Pompey defender Christian Burgess had suggested his side held the advance ahead of the end-of-season fixtures, with Sunderland set to visit Fratton Park on Thursday, May 16.

Yet Ross doesn't believe the scheduling of the fixtures will have any impact on the result, a point which the Scot feels was reiterated following recent footballing events.

"Timing-wise, it's probably a brilliant time for me to say it doesn't matter because I've just watched two brilliant games last night and the night before that just shows it doesn't make a jot of difference," said Ross, referring to the stunning Champions league comebacks from Liverpool and Tottenham.

"I know there's a lot of different theories, traditionally it's always seen as being better to be at home in the second leg, then opinion shifted on that, the truth is it doesn't really make much difference,

"It's about who's better over the two games,I think we've seen that over the past two days."

When asked is he has taken inspiration from Liverpool and Spurs, Ross replied: "I would hope over the two games we don't find ourselves in a position where we have to come back from two or three goals behind."

Both Sunderland and Pompey have struggled in recent weeks with the Black Cats winning just one of their last seven and Pompey going three games without a win.

Yet Ross feels the play-offs will provide a different challenge and doesn't think recent form will be a decisive factor.

"I genuinely don't think it makes any difference going into the play-off matches," said Ross when asked about his side's recent struggles. "They have a difference feel and intensity around them.

"Again you can point to the two games which took place the last two nights, when you have a two-legged match with big prizes at stake, you look for a performance level from players, you look to approach the game in a certain way but there's a lot of emotion in it.

"Emotion makes players do things that you can't predict and it's about making sure you maximise your chances and come out of the other side of it.

"I think you can go into the play-offs in the best form or the worst form, it really just comes down to who can handle the pressure and who can find a way to win."