Jack Ross admitted it was a job well done from his players to get over the line in tonight’s first leg Play-Off semi-final against Portsmouth this evening.
Little separated either side until Chris Maguire’s inspired second-half volley rocked beyond the Pompey stopper to give the Lads a slender advantage going into Thursday’s second leg.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though as Alim Ozturk later saw red, meaning Sunderland were forced to play out the remaining minute with a man less.
However, the Lads defended brilliantly ‘til the last and held out to secure a big victory ahead of Thursday’s trip to Fratton Park.
“The first-half of the first-leg can always be tight and tentative,” he said. “That was certainly the case and it wasn’t a great game.
“I thought we were a little bit passive and half-time was good for us because it gave us an opportunity to stress to the players that they’ve worked incredibly hard to get to this stage.
“If we are to fall short, then we don’t want to fall short in that manner. We tweaked a couple of little things and I thought in the second 45 we were a lot more like us.
“We scored a good goal in that period,” he continued.
“Maybe we could’ve scored more because we were looking good at that time but obvious the red card has an impact on the final 20 minutes of the game.”