Bruce points finger at forwards

Craig Mackail-Smith’s header five minutes into extra time landed

the latest blow on Bruce’s new-look Premier League team and having

been denied what looked a clear-cut penalty in extra time, the

Seagulls could have won by more – despite skipper Gordon Greer

limping off with a calf injury and replacement Romain Vincelot

dislocating an elbow. Yet Bruce, whose side lost against local

rivals Newcastle just four days earlier, blamed his misfiring front

men for this latest flop. He said: “We created enough chances to

win the cup-tie but we failed to do that because of our inability,

once more, to put away chances “We’ve got punished for it and it’s

worrying. We certainly had enough strikers on the pitch but we just

didn’t convert our chances . We’ve got to learn to do that.”

Stephane Sessegnon missed an early opportunity and Craig Gardner,

Sebastian Larsson and David Vaughan all failed to test keeper

Casper Ankergren from promising positions. It was only in the later

stages of the 90 minutes and then extra time when the Dane had to

make outstanding saves from Sessegnon and Gardner. Bruce refused to

blame defeat on the fact his side are still gelling together after

a host of summer signings and six notable departures including

Danny Welbeck and Jordan Henderson. He said: “Over the next few

weeks these new signings are going to find out what its like

playing for this club and in front of our fans. “We lost four loan

players in the summer as well as Jordan and (Bolo) Zenden but the

fact remains that we came back after losing a derby game and went

out there with the right spirit. “All that is no good, though, if

you can’t take the chances you create. Its a big concern. But

you’ve got to give Brighton credit. They have some very good

players and you can see why they’ve started the season so well.”

Bruce is aware he will soon come under pressure with more bad

results and admitted: “It’s another huge game for us at Swansea on

Saturday.” Opposite number Gus Poyet backed Bruce, saying: “I don’t

see why there should be pressure on him. It would be unjust. “He’s

rebuilding a team and I think he deserves to stay all season no

matter what happens. In my mind he shouldn’t be under pressure.

“It’s just one goal. The difference is minimal. But for me the

great thing is I now know we have a side capable of playing against

a Premier League team – playing that kind of football and beating

them. Winning is even better.” Three years ago, Brighton knocked an

emerging Manchester City side, under Mark Hughes, out of the

Carling Cup but Poyet said: “This was my best cup moment yet here.

“We were not quite ready when we played Stoke in the FA Cup last

season – even though we practised free kicks and corners all the

while up to the game. “But I think we deserved to win this game.

There’s no way anybody should take away the credit from my players.

“Sunderland, along with Liverpool, were probably the biggest team

in the draw at this stage and we’ve beaten them despite the

injuries we had in the game. We might have also had a penalty.

Caldy (Inigo Calderon) says it was a penalty. “If the goalkeeper

doesn’t come out, Caldy scores. He came out but you don’t have to

break somebody’s leg for it to be a penalty. Instead, we get the

booking and we’ve ended up with one more than them on the night

despite conceding less free kicks.”