TITUS BRAMBLE leapt to the defence of Sunderland’s midfielders after the Black Cats continued their losing streak with a whimper.
New signings Sulley Muntari and Stephane Sessegnon have tasted defeat in each of their outings for Sunderland since arriving from Inter Milan and Paris St Germain respectively during the January transfer window.
While neither shone at Everton on Saturday, both have shown enough in a Sunderland shirt to justify their acquisition.
Likewise, stand-in skipper Bramble has backed ever-present midfield team-mate Jordan Henderson despite the 20-year-old suffering a dip in form.
Bramble said: “It’s been very difficult for Sulley and Stephane to come in during a run like this, but they’re experienced players and they know what football is all about.
“You can play well but not get the result and that’s what’s been happening to us recently.
“But I’m sure we’ll stay positive and we’ll get out of this run.
“We’re a very young squad and there are quite a few players that have had a very hard season.
“Jordan Henderson has done fantastically this season, but he’s only 20 and for a 20-year-old to play in every game all season is hard.
“It’s very tough for anybody to do that in the Premier League.”
Sessegnon went as close as anyone to scoring for Sunderland at Goodison Park when his shot was tipped on to the bar by Toffees keeper Tim Howard.
Earlier, when the scores were still blank, Kieran Richardson had missed another glorious opportunity when he screwed a shot wide after going clean through.
But Bramble admits there were no positives to take from Merseyside as Sunderland racked up a fourth successive loss.
“That was the most disappointing of the four defeats – the way we played obviously wasn’t great,” added the 29-year-old.
“In the other three matches, we were able to take a lot of positives out of the games.
“Even though we lost, there were elements of the game we could feel positive about. That definitely wasn’t the case on Saturday.
“It was hard to draw anything positive out of all that. Goals change games. We had two great chances, one when it was still 0-0, but we didn’t take either of them.
“They scored from their first chance and that totally changed the game.
“We were always really chasing it from that point onwards and never really got ourselves back into it.
“We’ll continue to back ourselves. Apart from Everton, we’ve not really deserved to get beat.
“Maybe the second half against Chelsea wasn’t great, but, apart from that, we’ve been playing fairly well.
“We’re in the middle of a very tough run, there’s no denying that, but we’re very confident as a team that we can get back to winning ways soon.
“We’ll be backing ourselves to go down to Arsenal (on Saturday) and get a result.”