TITUS Bramble says the range of firepower Tottenham have at their disposal will test every aspect of Sunderland’s defence this weekend.
But the stand-in skipper is determined that the Black Cats’ rearguard will not be found wanting against Spurs on Saturday night as they were against Stoke City last week.
Sunderland got themselves into a winning position, leading 2-1 going into the last 10 minutes, only to crumble at the death and end up losing the game 3-2.
And Bramble says he and his team-mates are desperate to make amends this Saturday and remind supporters that defence has been a strength of the side over the course of the season.
“We are disappointed about the Stoke result because we led twice and then conceded two inside ten minutes– including one in injury-time – when we felt we had dominated the game,” said the summer signing from Wigan.
“They are a big, physical side who thrive on set-pieces and we played into their hands because we kept giving away silly free-kicks, silly corners, silly
“Everyone says ‘play to your strengths’ and playing that way is to their strengths. They are getting results from it.”
Harry Redknapp’s Spurs will present a totally different proposition to Stoke, but Bramble is aware that the Londoners have a far more complete attacking line-up than the Potters.
“You have all different types of players there,” he said.
“Peter Crouch is 6ft 7in, he’s a handful who is great on the ball and in the air. Jermain Defoe is a goalscorer – anything in the box he will hit the target. Rafael van der Vaart has been a great signing by Harry – you don’t know what to expect from him as a striker.
“So Tottenham will be a different kettle of fish from Stoke.
“They like to play football and for the neutral it will be a much more attractive game because we also like to play football but hopefully we will come out on top.”
Tottenham are fifth in the Premier League – only goal difference keeping them out of the top four – and will be formidable opposition this week.
But they have injury problems, too, they have not been great on the road this season and might have one eye on the Champions League game against Inter Milan next week.
Should Sunderland lose this weekend, it will the first time this season they have lost three games on the spin, but Bramble hopes fans won’t forget that being sixth in the Premier League at this stage of the feat is no mean feat for the Wearsiders.
“It’s a credit to everyone at this club,” he said.
“This club is going forward.
“A couple of years ago, I think Sunderland might have gone in to a game like this and thought Sunderland would get beaten but not anymore.”