Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Must Withstand Physical Challenge; Black Cats Must Withstand Physical Challenge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Must Withstand Physical Challenge; Black Cats Must Withstand Physical Challenge

Article excerpt

STEVE Bruce has challenged his new-look Sunderland side to prove they are no longer a soft touch on the road in the Premier League, as he warned them about the pitfalls of under-estimating Burnley this weekend, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

Bruce knows all about Turf Moor having spent four years there as a schoolboy, and he expects a rigorous physical and mental examination when he takes his Black Cats side to the small Lancashire town this weekend.

The ex-Manchester United centreback has overseen a radical change in personnel at the Stadium of Light in his short time at the club.

And he is interested to discover whether - as he believes -- the players he has brought in over the summer are better suited to games like this than the ones he let go.

"You definitely need certain credentials to play in the Premier League," said Bruce, who will be without forceful midfielder Lee Cattermole this weekend as the England Under-21 international has a heel problem which has prevented him from training this week.

"You need a physical presence, a bit of pace and power, and if you don't teams will just blow you away.

"That's the difference between this league and the Championship. Every week, you are playing against people who are big, strong, athletic and mobile, and they're talented too. So physically, we had to change.

"And when I say that, we mustn't forget that the club has only been out of the Championship for two years. We're only 18 months ahead of Burnley in that respect.

"Yes, we have wonderful facilities, but we've only been here for a couple of years and in the previous ten years we've been down four times. That's the mentality I have to change."

Burnley have already taken the notable scalps of Manchester United and Everton at home this season and Bruce is wary of becoming another victim of a club which is revelling in the fact it makes things uncomfortable for visiting sides. …

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