The Chalkboard: How Ross fixed his own mistakes to turn Sunderland around

Jack Ross made some glaring errors at Wembley on Sunday, but the Sunderland boss proved exactly how good he is by fixing his own mistakes in a matter of just three days.

Playing away at Accrington Stanley three days after a devastating penalty shoot-out defeat is no walk in the park, and a loss on Wednesday to further damage the hearts and minds of the Black Cats squad may just have ruined the season.

Instead, a Ross masterclass made things easy for his side, potentially saving their entire push for promotion.

Ross’ men were first to every ball, clinical when they needed to be and solid defensively, so how did the boss turn it around after such a disastrous tactical display against Portsmouth?

What did he do wrong at Wembley?

Quite simply, Ross was too cautious at Wembley, sacrificing all his side’s pressure by making two very defensive substitutions early in the second half with the score at 1-0.

By bringing off both Grigg and Lewis Morgan in quick succession, the Scot invited Pompey to attack his side, and it eventually yielded the equalising goal.

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Speaking of Grigg, the Northern Irishman has been crying out for more support for some time now, which was another error Ross made at Wembley, leaving the January arrival isolated on the massive pitch right from the first whistle.

He switched things up on Wednesday though, and the boss deserved to reap the rewards for recognising his mistakes and fixing them.

What did he change?

By starting Wyke, Ross immediately gave his side a focal point at the Crown Ground, something they simply didn’t have at Wembley.

Grigg was suddenly not surrounded by two colossal centre backs all the time, leaving the goalscoring machine free to make the quick little bursts into space from which he scores most of his goals.

Wyke meanwhile did not have the goalscoring pressure that comes with being the lone centre forward, something he has struggled massively with this season, and he played much better for it, getting involved in nearly every Black Cats attack.

The boss also switched things up in midfield, recognising that the ageing legs of Lee Cattermole and Grant Leadbitter could become exposed playing with two men up front, so opting instead for the all-action duo of Max Power and Dylan McGeouch.

Power and even more so McGeouch both had fine performances, but it is the manager that deserves all the praise. To not only fire up his players after such a heart-breaking setback but also get everything spot on tactically shows immense promise from a young manager who is still learning on the job.