Bruce points finger at forwards

Published Aug. 24, 2011 9:15 a.m. ET

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."