TITUS Bramble insists Sunderland cannot afford to be a Jekyll and Hyde side if they are to retain their status as a top 10 Premier League outfit.
Sunderland’s display at Carrow Road last night was far below the standard shown in the 4-0 victory over Stoke City nine days earlier, as the sloppy visitors whimpered to a 2-1 defeat against a buoyant newly-promoted Norwich outfit.
Centre-half Bramble believes a third defeat out of six wasn’t necessarily a backward step given both the campaign and Steve Bruce’s new-look side remain in their infancy.
But the 30-year-old admits the late scramble prompted by Kieran Richardson’s 86th minute strike shouldn’t mask a display which was significantly Sunderland’s worst of the season so far.
Bramble told the Echo: “We can’t go from a 10 out of 10 to a three out of 10 the following week. If we want to be a side pushing for the top 10, then we have to be consistent.
“We work hard all week in training on keeping the ball. But after three passes, they kept getting the ball back so we were chasing the ball constantly and that’s when mistakes happen.
“I don’t think it’s a backward step though. We’ve got new players and we’re still gelling.
“We’ll have a look at the video today and go through the goals because they were obviously something we need to rectify.
“We saw against Chelsea that you can’t give teams in the Premiership a two goal headstart because it’s a massive task. We got our goal back but it was too little, too late.”
Sunderland host a West Brom side on Saturday who have endured a similarly indifferent start to the campaign after taking four points from the opening six games.
Former Ipswich man Bramble, given a tough reception on his return to East Anglia, knows Sunderland need a positive result against the Baggies in order for the Black Cats to head into the two-week international break on a high note.
“We’ll pick the pieces of the game last night and make sure we improve for West Brom,” added Bramble. “We’re disappointed, but there’s another massive game on Saturday so we need to make sure we get a result.
“Yes, West Brom haven’t had the greatest of starts but they’ve still got good players. If you go into the international break with a defeat on your backs, it’s such a long two weeks. But if you go into it with a win under your belts, you can go into it with real confidence.”