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Sunderland boss Bruce: I'll tackle Manchester United jinx head on

23 Dec 2010 00:21:25

Sunderland boss Bruce: I'll tackle Manchester United jinx head on

Sir Alex Ferguson has welcomed his former players to Old Trafford as managers 24 times - but has tasted defeat just TWICE. Manchester United old boy Steve Bruce takes his Sunderland side into the lions' den on Boxing Day having managed one draw in six visits. Good times: Alex Ferguson and Steve Bruce at United So why has the master remained so dominant over his pupils? The answer is simple for Bruce. 'He has always had a good team,' said the Sunderland boss. 'Mind you, he always enjoys beating us all too. 'It's quite incredible because there are a load of us still involved who played under him and at one stage there were four of us in the Premier League. 'It's always great to go back and I look forward to it, and then usually come away feeling a misery because I've had my backside kicked. 'He enjoys winning, full stop, it doesn't matter if you played for him or not.' Bryan Robson was the first former United player to achieve the feat of beating Ferguson's team in 1998 when he was Middlesbrough manager, and the boss was not even there, as he was at the funeral of his brother Martin's wife. The next success for an old boy, and the last, came in September 2005 when Mark Hughes's Blackburn won 2-1. Rivals: Managers Alex Ferguson and Steve Bruce Bruce, who shares a New Year's Eve birthday with his former boss and turns 50 next week, picked up his solitary draw at Old Trafford last season. Darren Bent's goal was the first his sides had scored in six attempts and then he was denied a win by Anton Ferdinand's own-goal in injury time. Can Bruce envisage the day when he takes more than a nice glass of red from his manager? 'I haven't had the honour of beating him yet so I don't know how that feels or what his reaction would be, but he is always gracious in defeat. Then again, maybe that's because he doesn't get beaten very often. 'I was fortunate enough to be his third signing 20 odd years ago. I played there for 10 years and he made me captain, which I'll always be indebted to him for. Fergie v His fledglingsFormer Aberdeen and Manchester United stars who played under Ferguson have returned to Old Trafford as opposing managers for Premier League games 24 times - but have won only twice. Steve Bruce, Roy Keane, Alex McLeish and Gordon Strachan have failed to win. Bryan Robson and Mark Hughes have won once: Robson's Middlesbrough won 3-2 in December, 1998; Hughes won 2-1 with Blackburn in September, 2005. Bruce's Old Trafford record Dec 28, 2002 - Birmingham 0-2 (Forlan, Beckham). Oct 4, 2003 - Birmingham 0-3 (Van Nistelrooy, Scholes, Giggs). Feb 5, 2005 - Birmingham 0-2 (Keane, Rooney). Mar 26, 2006 - Birmingham 0-3 (Taylor og, Giggs, Rooney). Jan 14, 2009 - Wigan 0-1 (Rooney). Oct 3, 2009 - Sunderland 2-2 (Utd scorers: Berbatov, A Ferdinand og; Sunderland: Bent, Jones). 'One thing he instilled in me is the determination to win and not be afraid of hard work. The other morning I rang him at quarter to eight, which is the best time to get him, and he was just coming out of the gym, so he's still got that insatiable work ethic. He still has a great appetite for hard work and he produces teams who mirror him.' On Sunday, Sunderland travel with six key players missing, including star striker Danny Welbeck, on loan from United. Captain Lee Cattermole is suspended and defenders John Mensah, Titus Bramble and Michael Turner are injured, along with midfielder David Meyler. Yet Bruce, who shares the Premier League's only other unbeaten home record with Fergie, returns determined to put one over his old boss at last. He added: 'When you go to Old Trafford, sometimes teams are beaten in the tunnel. 'It's important we go and play with freedom and show what we can do on the biggest and best stage in the world. 'The most important thing is to take the game to them. That's what we did at Chelsea, that's what we will do here, although I'd love to be going to Old Trafford at full tilt. These are the ones you should enjoy - 75,000 at Old Trafford is what you play football for.'  Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes, Michael Turner, Gordon Strachan, Darren Bent, Roy Keane, Bryan Robson, Alex McLeish, Lee Cattermole, Danny Welbeck, Titus Bramble Places: Aberdeen, Birmingham


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