Sunderland’s miserable fall from grace culminated last season as they suffered back-to-back relegations and dropped into League One, but Jack Ross’s impact since arriving at the club has given the supporters fresh hope of returning to the second tier next season.
The Black Cats have picked up 14 points from their opening 6 fixtures and they currently sit in 4th place in the Championship, 3 points clear of 6th place Fleetwood Town who they are set to face this afternoon.
After finishing in 14th place in League One last season Fleetwood are hoping their new manager can take them up a level as they bid to reach the playoffs.
Barton has had the desired effect so far but his side will face one of their toughest challenges of the season when they travel to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland, and ahead of the fixture he delivered some intriguing thoughts.
Barton described the fixture as a “David vs Goliath” encounter in terms of the stature of the two clubs, but he went on to claim that his side are “slightly better than them (Sunderland)”, as per Sunderland Echo.
If Sunderland needed any extra motivation for their weekend fixture then Barton has certainly provided it for them.
Matches can be won and lost based on the conduct of managers in the public eye: Jose Mourinho’s media mind games throughout his illustrious career serve to exemplify that notion.
With Barton’s comments in mind, Jack Ross should be forming the basis of his pre-match team talk on proving the controversial manager wrong and urging his players to make him eat his words on the field of play.
Sunderland’s unbeaten start to the season certainly suggests that Barton has been foolishly overconfident in the pre-match build up, now it’s down to Ross to use those words to his side’s advantage.
Sunderland fans – thoughts? Let us know below!