Sunderland boss gives verdict on Portsmouth's defeat to GillinghamÂ
Sunderland manager Jack Ross believes Pompey's defeat to Gillingham reflects how competitiveÂ League One is.
Kenny Jackett's men fell to a 2-0 loss at Priestfield on Boxing Day which dented their promotion hopes.
And to make matters worse, the Black Cats delivered a 1-0 victory over Bradford.Â
That cancelled out Sunderland's loss at Fratton Park last Saturday and they're now five points behind Pompey with two games in hand.Â
Ross is awareÂ how difficult it will be to achieve promotion from the third tier this season.Â
He believes the Blues' loss at the 17th-placed Gills highlightsÂ that.
The Black Cats manager told the Sunderland Echo: '˜It is reflective of this league.
'˜It is a tough league, competitive and good teams in a competitive division.
'˜I have never looked at any of our games and thought they were easy, it is such a tough league.
'˜Bradford were on a good run, I think they will continue to get good results and I am pleased we don't have to play them again.'
Ross admitted his side were 'stung' after being decisively beaten by Pompey four days earlier.Â
That result was Sunderland's motivation heading into their game against Bradford.
He added: '˜There are always motivating factors you can take from a defeat.
'˜It is such a variant in our squad and experiences not just in football but at this club.Â
'˜But they all have a lot of pride about them. Defeat at Portsmouth stung them.
'˜There was a bit of sting in it for a lot of the boys, being in a stadium that felt as if it was celebrating something.
'˜The response was excellent, every time they have been asked a question they have responded.' Â