Jack Ross reveals how St Mirren experience is helping him deal with Sunderland promotion pressure
Ross guided St Mirren to the Scottish Championship last season before accepting the challenge of helping revive Sunderland’s fortunes following back-to-back relegations.
Sunderland are third in League One, four points off the automatic promotion spots having cut the gap to Barnsley with the 4-2 win over Gillingham in midweek.
Ross, by his own admission, wants to win the league title this year but Luton Town are leading the pack, the Hatters nine points clear of the Black Cats having played a game more.
Sunderland, though, remain firmly in the automatic promotion hunt.
When asked whether his experience at St Mirren last season is helping him, Ross said: “I suppose the bulk of a managerial career is either avoiding relegation or trying to achieve promotion, I’ve never really had any spells in between so that’s good in one way because I’ve pretty much dealt with constant pressure.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that when you’re Sunderland manager, you live with pressure every day anyway.
“I do think that it’s probably just a consistency in behaviour.
“During any period were by you come under pressure to either achieve something or avoid failure, you’ve got to maintain a pretty consistent approach to ensure that you shield your players from going too high or too low.
“Undoubtedly between now and the end of the season, we’re going to have some high points and we may have a couple of low points as well.
“It’s important that the emotions they feel - they’re going to feel them - but it’s important that we bring them back to that middle ground as quickly as we can.
“I would say probably the benefit of managing in general helps you during what we’re going to face in the next few months.”
With Sunderland having drawn so many games, there was an understandable nervousness on Wearside in recent weeks, the win over Gillingham helped relieve some pressure.
But Ross is fully aware of the high demands on him and his promotion-chasing squad.
The Scot added: “Every week is a ‘glass half full’ week for me.
“It’s been interesting and I pointed out after the game and you can always point these things out after a win because you come from a position of strength and it can change again very quickly but the reality is we’ve only lost 2 games, we’ve scored in every league game, we’re third in the table, an opportunity to achieve promotion automatically or any other way.
“We’re in the semi-final of a cup, there’s a lot of good things about this season so far.
“It’s just when you’re involved at Sunderland, you must win every week.
“When you win, it’s always going to be half full and if you don’t then obviously it goes the other way. It’s fine, I don’t mind it, I’ve got used to it very quickly.”
He added: “Certainly, at the moment, there are very few teams - as things stand - that have little or nothing to play for.
“That just increases the demands of every fixture.
“It increases the challenge for us but it will increase the challenges for each and every other team that’s trying to achieve promotion as well.”