In his press conference today, Sunderland manager Jack Ross was asked about Charlton: 'Well, I think first of all, it’s a really tough opening game for us when you look at the teams that filled the top positions in the table last year, it’s a team that obviously reached the playoffs and a big club as well. Probably that has went through some sort of turbulent period in recent times and they’ve also had injuries to contend with during pre-season.'
'So, there’s a little bit of synergy between the two clubs in that respect, the one difference being that they obviously enjoyed a relatively successful period season last year and we didn’t. So, I think it’s a tough game for us and I would imagine that they’re a club who believe that they will challenge again in those automatic or playoff spots.'
'Aside from that, we’re quite thorough in our work and our preparation in terms of dealing with the opposition and that’s been new for me because normally when I’m doing that I’ve been very familiar with the players I’m looking at. So, I’ve had to educate myself in that respect, but we’ve worked hard to be as well prepared as we can, not just for this game but for every game moving forward.'
Of course, much of this is just expectations management and getting your excuses in first. He needs to motivate his squad by telling them they are up against tough opposition.