Jack Ross reveals what 'embarrassed' him most about Sunderland's defeat at Lincoln
In what is proving to be a fiercely competitive League One, the Black Cats already find themselves eight points adrift of league.
Sunderland were second best and didn’t deserve anything at Lincoln, a Jon McLaughlin own goal followed by Tyler Walker’s clinical second.
Ross is coming under intensive fire and pressure from a frustrated fanbase, with a significant section now calling for him to be sacked.
When quizzed on the eight-point gap to top spot, Ross said: “We want to be challenging for promotion so we can’t say that that is okay. We need to be winning games.
“It’s not just about the defeat because we could have come here, played well, and lost, but it’s the manner of it.
“It’s probably as disappointing as I have seen us. It’s very obvious to say that we need to do so much better than that to win games in this league."
Ross added: “I take pride in what I have done here in management and in the teams I have put out on the park and there have only been a very few occasions in which I have been as disappointed as this.
“I keep saying ‘me’, because it is my responsibility - I keep protecting my players from it, because it is me. It is my job to make them better than that and they weren’t good.”
Ross was facing the brunt of the criticism but the performance of the Sunderland players left a lot to be desired, the players performing well below their usual levels.
So where does the responsibility lie?
Ross added: “It’s a good question, but I will take responsibility. I’ve done it all the time as a manager.
“People will make up their own mind on that but it is my team.
“The scrutiny that falls upon managers now is huge. How much you can influence it is debatable but ultimately it all falls on your shoulders.
“You have time with them before the game, you have time with them at half-time, you have time with them through the week, so it’s your preparation, your motivation, and your man management with them.
“When it’s reflected in that manner, it’s embarrassing for me - for me, not the players, for me.
“The players can answer for themselves, I’m talking about for me. I take pride in my work and that’s embarrassing for me.”