SUNDERLAND’S lack of goal power is a huge concern, admits boss Steve Bruce.
The Black Cats exited the Carling Cup at Championship club Brighton last night, losing out to Craig Mackail-Smith’s extra-time strike.
Having lost to Newcastle last weekend, the Wearsiders will head to Swansea for Saturday’s vital Premier League game with just four wins in their last 17 games – and a dozen defeats.
Bruce claimed the difference between the two teams lay in their finishing and he confessed that Sunderland’s record of just one goal in their first three games of the season is a worry.
“We created enough chances to win the game and I think we’ve done that in all three games so far,” he said.
“Given the quality we’ve got, the difference between a Premier League team and a Championship team should be that we take those chances.
“At the moment, though, that is our Achilles heel.
“We’ve created numerous opportunities, haven’t taken them and ultimately we have been punished.
“It’s a big concern because it is the most important part of the game, and is not acceptable that we keep missing the glorious chances we are creating.”
Bruce was generous in defeat last night, despite the hurt he must have been feeling after seeing Sunderland fall at the Carling Cup’s first hurdle.
Gus Poyet’s Brighton were worthy of their win and the Black Cats boss was big enough to admit it.
“It was a cracking cup-tie and, all credit to Brighton, because they played their part,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be difficult – we couldn’t have wished for a more difficult draw, if the truth be known, given how well Brighton are going at the moment and how up they are for games at their new ground.
“But Brighton are a good footballing team and you can see why they have taken to the Championship so well and how they won Division One last season.
“Both teams played some good stuff and made it a good cup-tie.”
Sunderland fielded a strong team, making only three changes to the side which lost the derby to Newcastle on Saturday.
Arguably those changes strengthened the side, but Sunderland still found their luck out last night.
“We came here and took it seriously because we knew what it meant,” said Bruce.
“But, unfortunately, we weren’t good enough on the night to take the chances that would have won us the match.
“It’s a long trip home, but we need to bounce back.”