Bruce shares out blame for loss

BY foxsports • February 6, 2011

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce bemoaned his defence and the officials after Stoke staged a late comeback to win 3-2 at the Britannia Stadium.

The Black Cats took a second-minute lead through Kieran Richardson, his fourth in three matches, but John Carew scored his first since joining from Aston Villa last month just after the half-hour although he appeared to be offside.

Within three minutes of the second half starting the visitors were ahead again when Asamoah Gyan took advantage of a defensive error by Robert Huth to score his ninth of the season.

However, the visitors came under an aerial bombardment from long throws, corners and free-kicks and they eventually cracked under pressure.

Carew, on his home debut, met Jermaine Pennant's inswinging free-kick seven minutes from time, with the ball seemingly coming off his arm, but Huth appeared to get the slightest final touch.

And in the third minute of added time another Pennant set-piece allowed Huth to slide in the winner from three yards.

"It is tough. It is always difficult when you lose a game you don't think you should do," Bruce said.

"We have spoken all week about defending set-pieces - you have to be brave, you have to head it.

"But you also need the officials to do their job as well and Carew is a yard offside for the first one.

"But I also needed my goalkeeper and defenders to control the 18-yard box better than we did today and unfortunately it has cost us the match.

"The second goal is also dubious if you watch it. You need your players to be strong but you need the officials to do their job and they've not done it properly today.

"The two decisions for the first two goals are bad enough. Carew's offside is blatant and it is the linesman's job to spot that."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis admitted even he could not clear up the confusion over the scorer of their second goal, initially credited to Carew but then given to Huth.

He said he had left the two players to argue about it in the dressing room after the game.

"They are fighting over it as we speak but it doesn't matter to me," said the Potters boss.

"Robert is desperately disappointed with the two goals we have conceded and obviously he is going to try to claim the two he claims he scored.

"I have no problems with that at all. It makes no difference, as long as we scored."

Pulis also dismissed the controversy over their second equaliser.

"Some say John handballed it but we deserved that one," he added.

"When we played Sunderland at their place Lee Cattermole handballed it with his left hand, caught it with his right and threw it out for a corner and the ref gave a corner when he should have given a penalty and sent the player off.

"If we've had a little bit back I am absolutely delighted."