Steve Bruce blasts Sunderland’s defence

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“Sometimes football can be cruel,” sighed Steve Bruce today after seeing his Sunderland players twice take the lead against Stoke City, only to be pegged back on both occasions and then lose the game in the last minute of the match.

“It can feel like the cruellest thing of all at times

“But if we don’t defend properly at set pieces and deal with the physical challenges that come our way then, well, I don’t think we can’t complain too much.”

Bruce was referring to the set-pieces from which all of Stoke’s three goals came and the fact that two of the three could have been ruled offside if the officials had been switched on, didn’t help either.

“The way we defended is what disappoints me,” he said.

“To play such good football away from home – because we certainly did play some very good football - and to get two goals and then not leave with anything, that has to hurt.

“The referee and his linesman needed to be strong and I don’t think they were - that’s cost us too.”

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