Jack Ross behind Sunderland decision to sack Didier Ndong to preserve club culture
"It can very easily be tipped the other way," says Sunderland boss
By James Dale
Last Updated: 27/09/18 5:26pm
Sunderland manager Jack Ross says he was fully behind the decision to sack club-record signing Didier Ndong for the sake of the culture at the club.
Ndong - signed for £13m in 2016 - arrived back in the North East this week following what the club said was an unexplained four-month absence to find his contract terminated.
Ross, who joined the club following back-to-back relegations this summer and with transfer funds restricted, says it was the board's decision and not down to fitness tests.
Asked if he put up any protest to Ndong's dismissal, Ross said: "Not from my side as a manager."
Previous owner Ellis Short wrote off Sunderland's debts and sold the club to insurance businessman Stewart Donald for £40m in May of this year, the club have started well in League One and sit third in the table ahead of facing Coventry on Saturday - live on Sky Sports.
Ross added: "To try and develop a culture in your club, and I know culture is used as a kind of buzzword in football nowadays, but it's relative in all walks of life and it's not an easy thing to do. It can very easily be tipped the other way.
"I'm not saying that one individual player would do that, but equally I think we've done well to build the spirit in a short period of time. We don't want to come away from that."
Local-born George Honeyman was named captain at the start of the season, while young players Lynden Gooch, 22, and Josh Maja, 19, have got off to flying starts, leading the assists and goal scorer charts respectively.
"The players that have been here from day one have been incredibly committed," Ross added.
"The one we have brought in have come with exactly the same work ethic. We want to try and foster that and grow up. I think it's important we do that in order to try and get the club back through the leagues."