IT has been billed as a series of explosive revelations that have rocked English football. Instead, when Jack Ross watched Marcelo Bielsa’s remarkable press conference at Leeds United’s training ground on Wednesday night, the Sunderland manager felt he was watching nothing out of the ordinary.

True, managers do not normally reveal the intricate details of the dossiers they keep on their opponents. But when it comes to forensically assessing the teams they will be coming up against, Bielsa has not been doing anything new.

In the build-up to this afternoon’s game at Scunthorpe United, Sunderland’s backroom staff have not been camped out in North Lincolnshire, peering through a pair of binoculars.

But as he prepared his final team talks over the last couple of days, Ross has not been short of information on today’s opponents.

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He knows each and every Scunthorpe player, and whether they are likely to play. He knows whether they like to pass short or long, how diligently they track back, and how much ground they cover in each game. He knows their long and short corner routines, how they line up to defend in their own 18-yard box, and at what point their manager likes to make changes.

Bielsa might have presented his findings with a flourish, but he has hardly broken new ground.

“I saw Frank Lampard’s intro to his press conference where he said, ‘We all do that’, and yeah, that’s right,” said Ross. “The level of technology and information that’s available to managers nowadays is high.

“The size of your support staff is probably what dictates how wide that data can be. You then have to decide what’s relevant.

“I can’t say how other people decide that, but I would imagine there’s a lot of managers up and down the country that are very thorough in what they do.

“There’s a million and one things that people probably wouldn’t realise that we do. For example, I know what percentage of winning performances each and every player in my squad has been in this season.

“Now, that’s just one example. I know that for player X, 65 per cent of the matches he’s started, we’ve won. For player Y, it might be 52.

“That doesn’t tell you the calibre of the opposition or anything like that, but it’s just another way of bringing in information that you might use or might not.

“Sometimes, it might back up what you see. But the stuff that was shown (at Leeds), wouldn’t have surprised that many people who are coaching or managing in the modern game.”

The scientific side of football has changed massively in the last decade or so, but Ross insists amassing a large amount of information is of no real value unless you are able to convey it to your players effectively.

That is where man-management comes in, and as someone who has studied for an undergraduate degree in economics, Ross has always argued that the ‘managerial’ side of being a football boss is often underrated.

A knowledge of the game, even if it has been supplemented by a large amount of technical data, is one thing. Being able to manage people and get across information concisely and efficiently is quite another.

So while it is always valuable to know how an opposition team is likely to play, that knowledge is useless unless you can persuade your players to buy in to a plan to stop it.

“That’s one of the key aspects of management,” said Ross, who worked as a communications officer with the Scottish FA before moving into coaching full-time. “With the information that’s available, if you go on coaching courses, then a lot of people will do the same things because it’s not difficult to find out what people do.

“You can read a lot about them, you can watch stuff on You Tube, you can Google it.

“It’s then the fine details I suppose, and the way in which you deliver it. You have to identify the key information, and then it’s about how you get it across. That’s what will separate the average from the good and the good from the great.

“It’s something I try to focus on – how I’m able to condense information down, and how I’m able to get it across to my players

“It’s not just footballers. With anyone, you probably have a ten or 15-minute window to get information across. Beyond that, you’re going to lose people.

“It’s about getting the information across, and then hammering it in all the time, whether it’s from my voice, written information or something they’re watching on a screen.”

The environment in which Ross now works is markedly different to the one in which he found himself when he was starting his managerial career with Alloa Athletic.

Alloa were a part-time club, on their way out of the Scottish Championship, when he joined them in December 2015, but while he has had to adapt some of his methods dramatically since climbing the managerial ladder with first St Mirren and now Sunderland, his core principles and beliefs have remained unchanged.

“You know what, there’s a lot of things that are consistent with what I did when I was at Alloa,” he explained. “There’d be a general consistency of approach.

“It’s had to adapt obviously, and it’s broadened out in terms of the information and technology that’s available to me.

“Alloa was part-time, so my time with the players was limited. St Mirren is probably a better comparison because they’re both full-time clubs.

“Ewan Fotheringham, who did my analysis at St Mirren, came down here with me, but he works alongside Mark Boddy, so now I’ve got two people doing it, which helps.

“The software they use to tag and analyse games here is better than the software I had previously. So all these little things help.

“I suppose now, maybe I get a little bit lazy because I can go and ask, ‘Can you give me the stats on this’, whereas before maybe I would have to sit and plough through it and figure it out for myself.

“But there’s still a consistency. I’m always looking to get better, so I’ll say, ‘Right, what am I doing?’ It’s just what you have around you that enables you to do more.”