TITUS Bramble hopes Sunderland’s weekend draw at Arsenal has put the club’s season back on course in the wake of four consecutive defeats.
The last defeat in that run – the 2-0 reverse at Everton – was a particular low point in the campaign and Bramble was delighted to put that game behind him on Saturday.
“I was pleased with my performance against Arsenal, because I wasn’t happy with what happened at Everton,” he said. “We haven’t played badly this year, but the last game at Everton, it wasn’t acceptable really.
“We’ve managed to keep the confidence levels up as a group, but this was very important. Not just because of the point, but also the clean sheet.
“It does become a worry when you go on a bad run, but we have kept working hard and we have kept believing. We know if we do the things right that the manager drills into us we are a good side and we have shown that at Arsenal.
“Defensively, we were all over the place at Goodison, me included and the manager has been annoyed.
“We hadn’t kept a clean sheet in six games and we’ve conceded as many goals in that time as we did in the first 15 to 20 games.
“But we’ve gone back to basics a little bit and been rewarded with a good point. This result has got our season back on track, but we needed it.
“The last four games had sent us on a bit of a slide, but this keeps the season going.
“Europe is going to be extremely tough, with Birmingham City winning the Carling Cup, but we will keep going – we’ve got a good run-in on paper and we’re going to have a lot of players coming back from injury as well.
The stand-in skipper added: “I hope I’ve proved people wrong coming back to the North East. I’m just enjoying my football and enjoying working with the manager.
“Brucie has always had faith in my ability and he has restored a lot of my confidence.
“I’m really happy here, playing week in, week out, and hopefully I’m showing what I can do as a player.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the man, he’s a massive help to me and always has been.”
Things, though, could have been different for the defender had referee Anthony Taylor taken a dimmer view of a second-half challenge from behind on Andrey Arshavin which Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger thought should have resulted in a red card for the defender and a penalty for the Gunners.
Bramble shrugged: “I suppose Andrey was a little too honest – he stayed on his feet when he could have gone down. But I like to think it is just good defending. He didn’t score and we’ve got a point. I put him off – that’s what I’m there to do.
“It was fantastic to get another clean sheet. The manager has been asking us to get back to what we were good at this season, and that was our defensive solidity.
“It was vital we put a stop to the run of defeats. The confidence is back after this result and that is very important going into the run-in.”