Sunderland boss Jack Ross thanks fans at motorway service station after Portsmouth defeat

It was a frustrating afternoon for the 2,637 Sunderland fans who made the 11-hour round trip to Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon.

The Black Cats were beaten 3-1 by their promotion rivals, but some lucky supporters received an early Christmas gift on their journey back from Fratton Park.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

After stopping at Woodhall service station, a group of Sunderland fans were greeted by manager Jack Ross, who showed his class after a difficult day in the dugout.

Ross stepped onto a coach full of travelling Sunderland fans to thank them for their incredible commitment and support this season.

The Black Cats boss reportedly apologised for the defeat while wishing fans a Merry Christmas as they made their way back to the North East.

Many fans took to social media afterwards to praise the manager for the gesture.

Lewis Macinnes‏ tweeted: "Jack Ross and the team stopped off at Woodall services and came onto our coach and thanked us for a support today sheer class #redandwhitearmy"

John Watson addded: "Nice touch by Jack Ross at Woodall services came onto the Sunderland supporters coach to thank all the travelling fans who turn up week after week."