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Opinion: “Perhaps going forward we can learn from the calmness of Sunderland gaffer Jack Ross!”

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Our charge towards automatic promotion is back on. And, despite some warranted criticism aimed his way, Jack Ross has remained calm throughout our recent spell of poor form. Can we all learn something from the Sunderland gaffer?

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

We’ve struggled to score from set pieces - we’re over it.

We’ve struggled to score more than once in a game - we’re over it.

Will Grigg struggled to get his first goal for the club - he’s over it.

We’ve struggled to win games recently - thank the lord, we’re finally over it.

Last night’s performance could - and should - act as the catalyst for Sunderland to really push themselves further up the table as we head into the final 14 games of the season.

There’s been an awful lot of pressure on the team to perform to a higher standard in recent weeks, and rightly so having passed up some glorious opportunities to take maximum points from games where we really should have done so, against out of form teams who linger at the other end of the table.

But, ensuring we got the three points last night was hugely important, and thankfully (despite Gillingham drawing level with us twice) we did it without ever really looking under any real pressure.

I said before the match on Twitter that, despite having lots of games left, this one felt like a must win. And it was - can you imagine what another draw, or even a loss, would have done for the morale of the supporters, the players and the manager?

Sunderland AFC

Jack Ross, to his credit, has remained calm throughout our recent barren spell. Perhaps we can all learn a lesson from that - teams go through bad spells, and not panicking is probably the best way of dealing with it. Your bad luck has to run out eventually. And if that was our bad spell, I’m glad we got through it without losing.

This is an incredibly resilient team. Yes, they’re flaky in certain situations and haven’t played at a consistently high level at all this season, but the fact we’re so hard to beat suggests that their mentality is that of a club gearing towards promotion.

The results elsewhere for Luton and Barnsley last night pull us that little bit closer, whilst Portsmouth’s continuing drop in form suggests that Sunderland have a little bit more about them than some of their promotion competitors.

Now, we must build on it. Bristol Rovers have lost just once since we faced them in mid-December, and with a cup semi final against us coming up in the EFL Trophy, they have a huge point to prove.

But, so do we. Sunderland are fighting a different battle to Bristol - we want to get promoted, and can’t afford to pass up the chance to take three points in any game. We play Barnsley in three weeks and we have to either be above or very, very close to them when that game comes around.

Our motivation should be sound - promotion is in sight, and it’s down to the manager and players to deliver with results. We have to be in this together though, whatever happens.