Sunderland boss Ross hails players’ faith following comeback win at Rochdale
Sunderland manager Jack Ross said his side’s 2-1 win at Rochdale was down to the players’ faith in what they do.
The Black Cats came from a goal down to score twice in the second half and complete a dramatic turnaround – boosting their hopes of automatic promotion from League One.
Ian Henderson had fired Dale ahead against the run of play in the first half but goals from Charlie Wyke and George Honeyman secured the three points for the visitors.
Ross said: ‘We’ve spoken before this season about the mental strength and resilience in this team.
‘To come from a goal behind on the back of the week we’ve had, and to keep pushing and pushing, it takes guts and it takes hunger.
It’s a happy dressing room.
‘The pleasing thing for me as manager was the fact they kept faith with what they were doing in the second half, they didn’t panic, kept plugging away and eventually got their rewards.
‘We had a young team out there and the goal we conceded rocked us, as it does to teams.
‘That’s why half-time was good for us because it gave us the opportunity to remind them what we wanted them to do and they went out onto the pitch and did that.
‘So the win was testament to their desire and character but also to their faith in what we do as well.
‘ Sunderland started well and bossed the opening 25 minutes and Will Grigg was denied by a spectacular Josh Lillis save.
But it was Dale who snatched the lead when Joe Bunney crossed for Henderson to convert.
Wyke levelled the game up in the 55th minute when he turned Jim McNulty and slid a neat finish wide of Lillis.
And the travelling supporters were ecstatic in the 88th minute when substitutes Bryan Oviedo and Honeyman combined with the latter scoring from six yards to wrap up the win.
It was a cruel ending to Brian Barry-Murphy’s first game in charge of Dale since being named the permanent successor to Keith Hill.
But the Dale boss insisted there was no need to feel sorry for themselves.
‘I don’t think it was a case of rough justice – you can feel sorry for yourselves after a finish like that but I think Sunderland have been playing like that and producing results like that all season,’ he said.
‘It would have been very easy for them to struggle under the weight of expectation, but they haven’t done and you have to give huge credit to them for that.
‘We scored first but they just kept on doing what they wanted to do and that came as no surprise to me.
They are a very strong side.
‘It’s always painful to experience defeat but if there’s such a thing of the right way to lose, this was it – the result didn’t go for us but I couldn’t fault the players’ performance.’