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Steve Bruce warns 'inept' Sunderland to produce improved display
Published : 03 Dec 2009 11:31:24
Bruce accused his players of incompetence when they lost 1-0 to Wigan last weekend and has challenged them to buck up their ideas at Craven Cottage on Sunday. "It was an awful performance and I can only apologise to the fans and say to them that make no mistake, we will be better at Fulham, because I can't stomach seeing a team of mine perform as ineptly as they did at Wigan," Bruce said. Related ArticlesLorik Cana: Sunderland need consistencyMan arrested over Bent claim"There was no spark, no drive, no determination, nothing. We just performed ineptly and the really galling thing is that if we had performed anywhere near our potential, we would have got something out of that game. "Whenever we throw in a performance like that, it sets us back and it always seems to be the same at Sunderland that we produce a great performance and then fail to follow up. It's not something I'm going to be satisfied with." Sunderland have been formidable at home in the Premier League this season, with victories over Liverpool and Arsenal, but on their travels they have been a soft touch and have won just once at Bolton and managed a 2-2 draw at Manchester United. "I can't stomach the sort of performance we saw at Wigan, like the one we saw at Birmingham or for much of the game at Burnley, because those results end up catching up with you," Bruce continued. "This is the frustrating part of it. We could have been doing so much better if we'd just turned in a half-decent performance in some of these games we'd be a lot better off points wise." "I don't often get angry but I was on Saturday and in all honesty I'm not in much of a better mood now when I think of the game. I'm still struggling to hide my disappointment. "Defeats are part and parcel of football, so it's got nothing to do with that, or with the game being against my old club. It's all about how poorly we performed on the day. "I've always said I don't mind us getting beat, so long as we get beat â€˜ with our boots on', as long as you turn up and you have a right good crack at the opposition. "That way you can leave and say â€˜well, it wasn't our day' â€' like we did after the recent game at Tottenham. But if we are going to improve as a squad, we need to have that level of performance in every game." Bruce is confident he will see a positive response from his players in London. "The players have been impressive in training this week and if we had played against Wigan as well as we've trained in the last couple of days, then it would have been a completely different story," Bruce said. "But that's only a start, you have to take that form you have in training into the games themselves. Last week was hurtful and the only way we're going to be able to move on is with a vastly improved performance against Fulham. "But I don't want to take too much away from my players because overall they've done well this season and I think they're hurting too. "I think they're disappointed in themselves, they know they let themselves and the fans down and I'm hoping that that is going to translate into a much, much better performance this weekend." Kenwyne Jones should be available again following a three-match suspension despite limping out of the reserves' 3-0 win over Wigan on Tuesday. "It's a dead leg but it doesn't look too serious," said Bruce. "I would expect him to be involved."