STEVE Bruce was swift to shrug off Sunderland’s defeat to Burnley at the weekend as just one of those pre-season things.
He had no interest in dwelling on a result he regarded as an irritation bordering on an irrelevance.
“You never want to lose a game, but the Burnley performance will be nothing like Anfield on the first day of the season,” he said.
“As a game it wasn’t much of a spectacle, was it?
“It was a typical pre-season friendly – played at half the pace games will be when the real league action starts.
“You need that competitive edge to be at your best and that wasn’t there, but it will be when the season starts.
“The good thing from my point of view is that Wes Brown, Titus Bramble and Kieran Richardson, in particular, got some minutes under their belts.
“It’s an important time for them.
“I think Wes hasn’t played since about February, so he needs games to get some match fitness.
“That’s been the aim from the start, to get the ones who have been out with injuries back in some sort of shape.
“I hated friendlies as a player and I hate them as a manager, but they’re a means to an end.
“I wouldn’t read too much into the Burnley game because we’ll be a completely different proposition in a couple of weeks time.
“We’ve had a particularly gruelling couple of weeks of pre-season going into the Burnley game – Germany, up to Scotland, back down to Burnley – it has been hectic.
“But then when you get a schedule like that and we squeezed the Kilmarnock game in so we could get extra work into Westwood and Gyan, you’re going to get games where you are not at your best.
“But you can be sure when the proper ball comes out in a couple of weeks time, it will be a completely different affair.”