Sunderland v West Brom reaction

BY foxsports • October 3, 2011

The Black Cats trailed 2-0 within five minutes of kick-off at the end of a week which started with a 2-1 defeat at promoted Norwich and then saw defender Titus Bramble end up in a police cell. But they dragged themselves back into the game to snatch a point and spare Bruce some of the additional criticism which was undoubtedly heading in his direction. The manager said: "Listen, it's what I do. I am a football manager and you do it. "It would have been quite easy to stay at Wigan, you know, no expectation. But I wanted to come and have the challenge of this. "It has certainly taught me a lot, but I am determined as ever to see it through and if there are any doubters, I will prove them wrong, which I have always tried to do." Bruce's employment prospects have been a topic of debate on Wearside for several weeks, and despite assurances from the boardroom, but the ground shifted alarmingly under his feet within five stomach-churning minutes. James Morrison was allowed to meet Chris Brunt's fourth-minute corner to head home and when Shane Long ran through the home rearguard to slot past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet seconds later, the home fans were in rebellious mood. Bruce's shell-shocked players eventually responded to dig themselves out of a hole. Nicklas Bendtner's 24th-minute strike, which flew past keeper Ben Foster with the help of a deflection off Gareth McAuley, gave them hope, and Ahmed Elmohamady levelled two minutes later as both men claimed their first goals for the club. Ask what his emotions were at 2-0, Bruce said: "I just thought, 'This is going to test them, and I will find out what some of them are made of', because it was the ultimate test, let's be honest, and I thought they were terrific." Sunderland enjoyed the better of what followed, but were unable to snatch victory as a compelling contest ebbed away, although Bruce withdrew skipper Lee Cattermole 20 minutes from time to prevent him picking up a second yellow card, much to the midfielder's disgust. The manager said: "You are not going to tell me that was a yellow card in front of me, but then everybody is looking for him to make the next one so they can send him off." West Brom boss Roy Hodgson was delighted at the way his side responded to having their early lead cancelled out. He said: "It was too early, wasn't it? There were 90 minutes left to play when we were 2-0 up, so the game starts all over again. "But I think we should give credit to Sunderland for really mounting a strong challenge and getting over the disappointment of a poor start both in terms of conceding goals and maybe giving the ball away far more than Steve would like in that early spell. "At half-time, it was up to us to get our minds right again and not to think about the fact that we had been 2-0 up, but to make sure that we got ourselves organised enough to get a result in the second half, a result being either a draw or a victory. "You have got to put it out of your mind because if you are not careful, you really waste your chance because you go from 2-0 up to 2-3 or 2-4." Baggies defender McAuley hobbled off the pitch at the Stadium of Light with an ankle injury which is being assessed ahead of his scheduled departure on international duty with Northern Ireland.

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