Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Is Unhappy at Defeat; Bruce Unhappy with Defeat as Defence Fail to Heed Warnings

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Is Unhappy at Defeat; Bruce Unhappy with Defeat as Defence Fail to Heed Warnings

Article excerpt

Everton ..................................... 2 Sunderland ............................... 0 STEVE Bruce has told Sunderland their next two games will define their season, writes STUART RAYNER.

The Black Cats' miserable away run was extended to 11 Premier League matches without a win as Everton hit them with two early goals at Goodison Park last night.

But their next two matches are at home - to Stoke City and Wigan Athletic - and Bruce warned a sequence of one win in 13 games cannot be allowed to worsen. A sloppy and disjointed start from the visitors allowed Tim Cahill and Landon Donovan to find the net in the first 20 minutes - and Sunderland never recovered. Television replays suggested Cahill was in an offside position when he glanced in the opener, but Sunderland Bruce was more alarmed at the space both the Australian and his provider, Marouane Fellaini, were afforded. "I seem to be like a long-playing record, it's simply too easy," blasted Bruce. "They didn't have to do much. We had time to pick (Cahill) up. There was a hint of offside but I'm not going to make excuses. Two kicks up the pitch have killed us.

"That's been our Achilles heel - we can't defend properly. In the first half hour we were nowhere near the standard we need. The second half was better but it was too little too late." Bruce demanded a much-improved performance in Monday's televised game against Stoke. "We've got back-to-back home games which will define our season," he warned. "I've seen we're capable but we need a bit of luck. "I sincerely hope we've got the characters to do it but we've only been in the Premier League a couple of years." Matthew Kilgallon enjoyed a miserable debut for Sunderland, giving Cahill too much time to create Donovan's 19th-minute strike. Bruce would have preferred to give the central defender - who Everton manager David Moyes had been hoping to sign at the end of his Sheffield United contract this summer - more time. "Everton brought in Senderos - they gave him a few days to take his time - we threw in Kilgallon after two training sessions," he pointed out. The game marked Lee Cattermole's first appearance since Christmas. …

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