STEVE Bruce says confidence is the key to the remainder of Sunderland’s season and he hopes that the feelgood factor from the win over Wigan spills over into the club’s last four remaining games.
The Black Cats’ manager told the Echo: “It’s a remarkable thing, confidence, and you could see its effects at the weekend in our purple patch in the second half.
“For weeks now we’ve been playing without that confidence and, because of that, we’ve found it hard.
“You get a bit nervy without it – you play the safe option and it’s easy to develop a siege mentality.
“That can cost you.
“But you saw on Saturday, after we equalised and the crowd lifted us again, just what a difference confidence can make.
“All of a sudden, we were a yard quicker all over the pitch, everyone wanted the ball and we were completely focused and confident.
“It makes a difference.
“It was a very happy dressing room after the game and I hope that now we’ve got that confidence back, we can build on it the game coming up against Fulham and take it into the matches after that because there’s still a lot of points to play for and I want to secure that top 10 finish.”
The manager reckoned that the return of the likes of Lee Cattermole and the introduction of Jack Colback has helped spur the side onwards.
“I think when you look at Jack, he’s a young lad so he’s going to show no fear, he just wants to get out there and prove a point,” said Bruce.
“As for Lee, he’s always had that focus on the field and players like that can help drive you on.
“When you’ve got that element in your side, players whose heads won’t drop, it helps give you confidence or, if you’ve lost that confidence, it helps restore it.
“There are advantages and disadvantages of having a very youthful squad like we have, but sometimes that enthusiasm and energy you get from young players can just get you over the line.”