Manager's view: 'We're at a critical stage of the season'

Jack Ross is refusing to search for excuses as he looks to fine tune Sunderland’s attack ahead of Saturday’s away match at Scunthorpe United. 

The Black Cats hit the road once again this weekend as they look to continue their unbeaten start to 2019. 

However, while the Lads remain the only team in England to have scored in every league match this season – a record stretching 34 matches back to March 2018 – Ross has admitted his side’s failure to score more than once in their previous six league outings is a concern. 

Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, the Scot challenged his players to rekindle their goalscoring spark that saw them put three past Saturday’s opponents in an assured win at the Stadium of Light back in August. 

“I think even the aftermath of last weekend, it’s something we don’t do a lot, we don’t really look for excuses or look for outs, if you like, when we don’t put up a positive result,” he said.

“But we played against a team who are second in the table last week without our top scorer or our captain and we didn’t mention it after the game, but that was the reality of it. 

“I understand that because we’ve not scored freely in the last six to eight weeks and naturally, when you’re ahead in the game, if you score the second then obviously it makes it more difficult for teams to come back. 

“I think the Charlton game probably highlighted that because we were so good in the opening period.

“Yet, sometimes you have to temper that with the fact that we’re the only team in England that have scored in every league game this season.

“So, that is an incredible statistic and a fantastic record,” he continued.

“We loathe to be too critical of what we’ve done in forward areas this season when you look at that record. 

“However, this is a critical point of the season in terms of what you’re able to put in place for the second half of it. 

“So, going back to what you mentioned, it’s important that we at least maintain what we have in forward areas, which is obviously attributing to Josh’s situation and ideally strengthen it and bring others in that we feel can give us more goal-scoring opportunities, if you like."

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