Sunderland boss Jack Ross discusses League One promotion battle and the pressures of management

Jack Ross is relishing this season’s promotion scrap and wants his side to embrace the pressure of playing for Sunderland.

Monday, 11th February 2019, 15:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 05:48 am

The Black Cats slipped five points adrift of the automatic promotion places in League One, albeit with two games in hand, following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Oxford.

Despite losing just two league games all season, Sunderland have won only one of their last five ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Blackpool.

Yet Ross who has been part of relegation battles at Alloa and St Mirren, is enjoying the challenge of vying for promotion.     

“It’s certainly more enjoyable pressure than when you’re trying to avoid relegation,” said Ross.

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“I can speak from first-hand experience both as a player and a manager. Even as a manager, although it’s been a relatively short period, I’ve had experiences of both.

“There’s pressure on both, there’s strains on both and stresses with it, but it’s absolutely a better pressure when you’re competing to win promotion or win a league than it is when you’re trying avoid relegation.

“I’ve said it enough times about trying not to ignore the pressure that comes with playing here but embrace it and go with it.”

Sunderland have now dropped eight points from winning positions in their last five games, after letting leads slip against Charlton, Luton Scunthorpe and Oxford.

But Ross doesn’t believe his players are feeling and hopes to learn from the side’s recent setbacks.

“I don’t sense that my players are feeling any pressure,” added Ross. “It’s more a sense of that they know they can be better and that’s a very different thing.

“I enjoy the job. I enjoy football management. I’ve always looked at it as problem-solving and it’ll always be like that, because you’ll have a problem or numerous problems as a manager.

“I enjoy the responsibility that comes with it and I suppose you learn to deal with some of the frustrations of it as time goes on.

“Your experiences teach you that as well. If you’re passionate about football and being a manager then you can’t not enjoy being manager of this football club.”