Sunderland boss gives verdict on side’s poor form ahead of Portsmouth play-off showdown

Jack Ross is unconcerned about Sunderland’s poor form ahead of their play-off showdown with Pompey.

Thursday, 9th May 2019, 6:12 pm

The Black Cats take on Kenny Jackett’s men off the back of a single win from the past seven games.

That’s on top of one win from four at home after showing strong form at the Stadium of Light for most of the season.

Ross isn’t worried about that, however, and feels such stats go out of the window in the cut and thrust of play-off action.

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The Sunderland boss told Chronicle Live: ‘No (he’s not worried about his side’s form), because over the last six games the only one that I was particularly concerned about the overall performance was Southend.

‘It was the only one really that I felt we had dropped way below the standards which were set by us over the course of the season, and I think the players would accept that. I think the players would agree.

‘To approach 45 league games so well - I’m not saying always bang at it - but we dropped well below those levels on Saturday in that game.

‘Prior to that it had been a frustrating period for us more than anything else because in the main we’d been pretty good, we just hadn’t been ruthless enough in both boxes.

‘The consequences of that is that results weren’t positive enough to remain in the top two.

‘I think if we were coming in on the back of five or six poor performances then there’d be cause for worry, but we’ve been far from that.’

Pompey will be renewing acquaintances with a familiar foe this weekend after facing Sunderland twice in the league on top of triumphing in the Checkatrade Trophy final.

Ross believes that means there will be few surprises as they go head to head again.

He added: ‘It’s unusual to face an opponent in one season as much as we will Portsmouth - particularly when three of those games are so close to each other as well.

‘The league fixture was only a couple of weeks ago and the cup final wasn’t that long ago either.

‘What that means is the familiarity between the two teams and individuals also is there and I don’t think there’ll be many surprises from either side.

‘In all the games there has been very little between the two teams and I would expect the next two games to be the same.

‘It’s important for us is to continue to stress the things that we’ve been working on and the things we’ve done well against Portsmouth, but also recognising what Portsmouth have done well against us and nullifying that.

‘If we get those two things right then I believe we have a very good chance of progressing.’