Mixed emotions for Bruce after Sunderland lose to Notts County

Cristian Riveros

Cristian Riveros

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EMBARRASSMENT mingled with rage in Steve Bruce as he met the Press on Saturday evening.

Embarrassment at how badly his side had played against visiting opposition two leagues lower.

And rage at, well, how badly his side had played against visiting opposition two leagues lower.

“To go out in the manner that we did in the first half was pathetic and losing to Notts County in the first round hurts me badly – they shouldn’t be scoring two goals on our ground,” he fumed.

“I’m not going to try and make excuses – that would be unfair on Notts County – we have to accept that we were not good enough.

“But what this game tells me is that, with six or seven missing through injury, we aren’t good enough – we couldn’t handle it.

“I’ve had players knocking on the door wanting a game, international footballers, but, put simply, on the day, they didn’t perform. Not one of them.

“We were found wanting.

“And when you play like that, when you are as lacklustre as we were, you get what you deserve – which was nothing.

“We got our backsides kicked and rightly so.

“Fair play to Notts County, they treated the game as if it was a proper cup tie.

“It was their FA Cup final, if you like. They approached it that way and they got what they deserved.

“For me, we were nowhere near it and the goals we’ve conceded were really sloppy.

“We didn’t do our jobs properly and we suffered the consequences.”

Defeat means that Sunderland are out of cup competition for another year and that left a bitter taste in the mouth of Bruce, particularly as he and chairman Niall Quinn had seen this as the club’s best route to success in the 2010/11 campaign.

“There’s few worse feelings than losing games in a cup upset,” he added.

“Plenty of other teams have had it and this time it has happened to us.

“The FA Cup can produce shocks, but we have to accept that, on the day, we got exactly what we deserved.

“We didn’t take part in the game until we brought on two young boys on the hour. It was only then that we showed any sort of urgency and desire to win a cup tie.

“Up until that point we were poor to say the least and that wasn’t good enough in a competition we had a chance to do well in.

“I’ve said since walking through the door at Sunderland that the cups are a great opportunity for us.

“You have to win five games to get to a final and we, as a Premier League club, should be capable of doing that.”