Jack Ross will take his side to Portsmouth this evening with one clear aim – to win.
Sunderland travel to Fratton Park for their Sky Bet League One Play-Off second leg knowing they hold a slender 1-0 advantage.
Chris Maguire’s second-half volley at the Stadium of Light proved decisive in the first leg, but with a hostile atmosphere expected on the south coast this evening the Lads know the job is far from done.
Speaking on Tuesday, Ross backed his players to deal with the intense environment and show their class when it matters most.
“We are going there to win the game,” he said.
“Winning the game gets us to Wembley. I don’t think as a team we need to go there and defend.
“We are going to have to defend for periods of the game – like we would always have to – but it’s about us going there to win the match on Thursday evening.”
“You have to have a certain amount of composure when you are going into an environment like the one, we are faced with on Thursday,” he continued.
“Not only in your discipline and composure but how you play as well. That balance is there to be struck because you need to have a passion and intensity to cope with the opposition and the demands of the atmosphere.
“It’s not something I feel the need to stress massively to the players. I speak to them a lot and get a feel for how they are as a group and they are good at communicating with each other and they understand they will be tested physically and psychologically in the game.
“They have the experience and they are good enough to be able to handle that.”