Imagine when we have more players fit?!
The way that Jack Ross has got the team playing in such a short space of time is actually quite remarkable. It’s a far cry from the boring, negative style of the recent past under Chris Coleman, Simon Grayson and David Moyes and it’s nice to see the players actually enjoying their football for once.
It seems rather simple when you boil it down. If you don’t have a particularly physical squad of players, why would you try and play long-ball, defensive football?
Ross has identified our weaknesses and, in his style, has sought to accentuate our strengths by playing a way that suits his best players.
We’ve got hard-working midfielders and attackers that are technically very good, so he has them playing a short, sharp passing game on the floor that has, thus far, made some very competent teams at this level look like rank amateurs.
It’s early days of course and we mustn’t get too carried away, but in truth it’s hard not to.
We’ve managed all of this without a number of our strongest players available to us for the most part. Charlie Wyke, Aiden McGeady, Duncan Watmore and Dylan McGeouch haven’t even made it onto the pitch yet this season, whilst Jerome Sinclair will surely be an asset to us with his pace and strength from wide positions.
I can’t wait to see what we’re capable of once Ross has even more options to select from.
Maguire runs the show
There were a tonne of good individual performances yesterday but the one that really stuck out to me, like it always does, was the shift put in by Chris Maguire.
Quite why he’s so roundly hated by supporters of his old club Bury is beyond me, because I honestly don’t see what the issue is. He’s absolutely everything you want in a creative player and I’m over the moon that we took a gamble on handing him a contract.
Often your creative players are also the ones that work nowhere near as hard as the rest of the team, but that just isn’t the case with Maguire.
He grafts his nuts off and is incredibly selfless with the ball, which I believe is why we’re seeing the best of players like Josh Maja and Bryan Oviedo too who are clearly benefiting from the space that he creates with his movement.
Keeping him fit and involved is important, not just for the way we play but also for the professionalism and mentality of the group out on the pitch and in training every day.
He has, very quickly, became Sunderland’s most important player.
Top notch atmosphere again
The Sunderland supporters were in fine voice again yesterday and it’s important that we highlight the fantastic atmosphere around the place these days.
In years gone by the misplaced passes made by Loovens and Baldwin would have been jeered, as would the occasional over-hit crosses and misses from a few yards out like the one Josh Maja put wide when he had the goal gaping.
The fact of the matter is that supporters can see what the club are trying to achieve now, both on and off the pitch. We have a plan and we’re all in on it - and that has been key. The players are clearly loving their football and the fans are, in turn, enjoying watching them. We’re eagerly anticipating each and every game and I’m loving every second of it.
Bring on Gillingham.