Titus Bramble: Sunderland must be brave enough to clinch a place in Europe

04 January 2011 12:41
Sunderland defender Titus Bramble says the club should not be afraid to admit they are aiming for Europe.

Heading for Europe? Titus Bramble insists Sunderland are good enough to make it

Players, supporters and even manager Steve Bruce are reluctant to get carried away by their lofty Barclays Premier League position at the turn of the year.

But Bramble, who played in Europe under Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle, had no hesitation talking about 'The E word' as stand-in captain for the injured Lee Cattermole for Saturday's comfortable 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

The defender said: `We are back to sixth in the table and confidence is sky high. It was a good performance and now you never know, we have got to be aiming for Europe.

'I don't think we should show a lack of confidence because we are a good team, so why not go for Europe? Why shouldn't we?

'I think we are good enough, especially with the way we play at home. You have to set yourself high targets in this game and I don't see anything wrong with that. 

'This is a massive club and I think this season we have a great chance of qualifying for Europe. This club deserves to be in Europe because of its size. 

'At the start of the season maybe we were aiming more for top ten, but now we should be going for Europe. We have definitely got a great chance and we are capable of it. I have been there before and it is so special playing against the best teams in Europe. It is a fantastic feeling and I would love to get back there with Sunderland.'

Injuries to Nedum Onuoha and John Mensah have forced Bruce to turn to his bargain summer signing from Wigan quicker than anticipated after his recovery from a knee injury.

And after a rather rusty return as a substitute against Blackpool, Bramble was back on form at the weekend.

On target: Darren Bent scores Sunderland's second goal en route to a 3-0 defeat of Blackburn

Bruce has never doubted Bramble's ability and, with Cattermole out for at least a month with his latest back problem, the Sunderland manager had no hesitation handing the armband to the defender. Bar one major blip on the ill-fated return to St James's Park when he was sent off, Bramble has more than answered his critics and he even earned a chorus from home fans on Saturday.

Bramble is happy with his form so far.

He added: 'I haven't trained too much and was out for six weeks so I was quite pleased. It was just great to be back and playing again.

'I feel fine, although my knee feels good and fitness wise it is going to take a few games.

'Captaining Sunderland was a great feeling for me especially as I have been out for a few games. It was a real honour.

'The fans have been great to me, even when I first signed. That is one of the reasons why I have been able to play some good football because I know they have backed me form day one. I try and let my football do the talking on the pitch, but I can't thank the fans enough.'

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 Explore more:People: Titus Bramble, Steve Bruce, Lee Cattermole Places: Newcastle, Europe

Source: Daily_Mail