Wycombe boss delivers surprising verdict on Sunderland and Jack Ross after Adams Park battle
Gareth Ainsworth has praised the job Jack Ross is doing and backed Sunderland to win promotion - after a feisty encounter with his Wycombe Wanderers side.
Wycombe’s physical approach caused Sunderland problems throughout, Ainsworth’s side making it one of the most uncomfortable afternoons of the season to date for Ross’s team, with persistent fouling and timewasting.
They took the lead through Alex Samuel before sub Duncan Watmore’s 94th minute equaliser.
Wycombe had lost their last four games prior to kick-off but were more than a match for an out-of-sorts Sunderland side backed by 2,800 away fans.
Ainsworth said: “I am immensely proud of the boys, they had hearts like lions.
“A point against Sunderland home and away is a message Wycombe are here to compete.
“Sunderland are a magnificent side, what a football club, their fans were awesome - what a following that is.
“That was a great point.
“The great thing is it should and could have been three, I am really proud of the players, crowd and staff, I couldn’t have asked for anymore.”
On the melee in added-on time and Sunderland’s promotion hopes, Ainsworth added: “It seems to have erupted!
“A ball came over, one of the Sunderland staff tried to get it back in play quickly and erupted from there, I didn’t see much more than that.
“I was more concerned about my players not getting involved.
“It was a passionate response from both benches, me and Jack got out the melee and concentrated on the last few minutes.
“Jack is a great guy, I have a lot of respect for him. I’m pleased they got to Wembley and hope they get promoted because he has done a fantastic job.
“We have had some good battles.
“What he has done and as a human being in general, he is a great guy, he really is.
“The mental side of the game is huge, it really is and Sunderland will always get teams that raise their game.
“Sunderland is a fantastic football club and I take it as a compliment that we have been able to compete, home and away.”
Ross felt referee Lee Swabey didn’t have much control on the game, Ainsworth added: “It is a huge game, both sides were aggrieved at decisions, you will get that.
“I don’t want to comment on any control issues, it is down to the powers-that-be to assess him, I assess my players, let the assessors assess the referees.”