DESPITE having the better players, we have lost another match to inferior opposition. After finally picking the right formation, Bruce somehow concluded that starting the game with no recognised centre-forward would work, despite having three on the bench.
After all the talk of taking the cup seriously, Bruce made several changes from Saturday and changed formation. That is not an excuse though – the 11 players that took to the field were more than good enough to beat Brighton.
In the first 20 minutes, you could count the amount of times Sunderland touched the ball on one hand. We weren’t playing Man United, Chelsea or Arsenal, we were playing Brighton! We did get a foothold later in the half, but the decision not to play a striker haunted Bruce, as two or three crosses managed to find their way across goal with no attacker within 10 yards.
In the second half, we were lucky not to concede two goals, as Brighton hit the post and were unlucky not to be given a penalty. Then, for some reason, Bruce decided to take off our best player, Vaughan, and threw on Wickham. Another baffling decision.
With Martin O’Neill and Mark Hughes available, you have to wonder how long “agent Bruce” (as he is known to some Newcastle fans) can keep this up.
Read the full Echo Jury verdict in today’s Echo.