STEVE Bruce says Sunderland will go into Saturday’s derby game against Newcastle on the front foot following their positive performance at Liverpool.
Liverpool at Anfield was one of the most daunting fixtures Sunderland could have been handed to kick off their 2011/12 campaign.
But having managed to get a point from Saturday’s 1-1 draw, there was a buzz in the Sunderland camp and Bruce will look to build on that this week.
“The result gives us a bit of confidence,” the Sunderland manager acknowledged. “And I think what really pleased me was that, having gone a goal down away from home, we stuck at it and eventually turned the game around.
“That takes some doing, especially at a place like Anfield, and that’s what I really liked.
“It’s fair to say that we got away with it a little bit in the first 20 minutes.
“We gave the ball away badly and I wasn’t happy about that, but we got over that period and the longer the game went on the more belief we got and the more we started to keep the ball better.
“That was the key to it for me – keeping the ball better.
“We had to handle a lot in the first 20 minutes, but we rode our luck, improved as the game went on and, in all honesty, in the last 20 minutes, we looked more likely to win it.
“If there was one team that was going to win it in the closing stages, it was us.”
Bruce was not conning himself, though, that remodelled Sunderland have it cracked; no matter how encouraging Saturday’s result was.
“It takes time for new players to settle in and Kenny will find that at Liverpool too I’m sure,” he added.
“You’re never certain how long it is going to take for players to find their feet, you just do your best to try to help them.
“Kenny chose to put all his new players in from the start; we just played a couple.
“But you look at Liverpool’s new signings and the way they played in the first 20 minutes and they could easily have been out of sight – so there’s not necessarily a right way or a wrong way to go.
“There’s just the way it pans out on the day and on this day it went with us.
“It’s going to take a few weeks for new squads to really take shape – ourselves included.
“But you want to make a solid start no matter what and, at Liverpool, we’ve successfully managed to do that.”