Jack Ross says he prepares like a Roman general before Sunderland's play-off final
Watch the League One play-off final between Sunderland and Charlton on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 22/05/19 3:54pm
Jack Ross says his fascination with leadership has taken him to learn how Roman generals studied 'Alexander the Great'.
Sunderland will face Charlton in the League One play-off final at Wembley on Sunday as the Black Cats target a return to the Sky Bet Championship after back-to-back relegations.
Ross, who arrived at the Stadium of Light last summer after guiding St Mirren to the Scottish Premiership, admits there will be a degree of "fate" over the outcome of the 61st and decisive final game of the season.
"I am fascinated with leadership and have been for a number of years. Going back to some of the Roman generals and how they studied Alexander the Great.
"Even people like that did tactics, preparations, but they all made sacrifices to the gods before it which probably sums up that you can prepare as much as you want but ultimately there is a bit of fate that is involved.
"For me it is about knowing everything I do this week is done properly and thoroughly.
"Once I feel I have achieved that, the closer the game comes you get caught up in the emotion but you also have to understand that taking your team to Wembley in that kind of atmosphere and with that crowd you can't affect that much from the sideline because nobody can hear you.
"They can hear you at half-time but they can't hear you during the game."
Sunderland ended the regular league season without a win from their final four games but Ross is thrilled by the response his squad have shown to reach the play-off final.
"The last couple of weeks have been really enjoyable. I think [the players] have responded terrifically well," he said.
"They have been quite calm and focused. I don't know whether it is because we have been at Wembley already this season. This week I have not sensed anything different about them.
"They are in a good place but not any extra excitement. Just really focused on trying to win the game this weekend."
Ross, who led Sunderland to the Checkatrade Trophy final in March, says their Wembley experience won't provide his team with a psychological edge over Charlton but is confident the familiarity will help his side.
"It is very unusual to go back to Wembley in such a short space of time," Ross added.
"The memory of what it was like to walk out in the stadium with that size of crowd is fresh for everyone that was involved.
"They know how much it can affect you if you don't control the emotions in the right way so it will stand us in good stead."
Ross concedes Sunderland's season will ultimately be judged as successful or unsuccessful on whether they secure promotion and says doing so by the play-offs would be extra sweet.
"People had said to me that the play-offs were the best way to get promoted. As a manager I did disagree with that. I would have liked to have had it done by now!
"I think when they were created years ago they got them spot on. The excitement that they create, intensity and the tension of the games that we have already seen. We have already been involved in them.
"Because of how much you put into these three games then that is why you see such celebration when you come out on the right side of the result in the final. If we do that then it is certainly something to enjoy."