Sunderland: Bruce hopes to smash stereotype

Steve Bruce is on a mission to eradicate his side's inconsistency after becoming fed up with them being tagged 'typical Sunderland'.

Black Cats boss Bruce's issues are understandable because despite Sunderland riding high in eighth position in the Barclays Premier League, they are yet to win two successive games this season.

Since a run of five consecutive draws over September and October, the last eight games highlight Sunderland's problem. Their form reads - won, lost, won, drew, won, drew, lost, won.

Another annoying factor for Bruce is that his side have defeated

Manchester City and Chelsea, the latter a remarkable 3-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge, and drawn against Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool.

Yet their three defeats this season have been at Wolves and against newly-promoted clubs West Brom and Newcastle, the latter a particularly hurtful 5-1 humiliation at St James' Park.

"I don't think it's complacency. It's the mindset which is the hardest thing to deal with," said Bruce.

"Following the defeat to Wolves (3-2 a fortnight ago), on the TV and in the press it was 'typical Sunderland'.

"That is the one thing I have to eradicate. That is the hardest job on my plate, to take the club forward, to get rid of this 'typical Sunderland' tag where we win one, lose one.

"That is the challenge because to be a top club in this league, if we're going to succeed and go on to where we want to be, we have to eradicate the performances we put in against Wolves and West Brom.

"However, when I analyse the season, and we're halfway through near enough, two-and-a-half poor performances out of 16 is not bad.

"If we can repeat that for the next 16 games and go into spring with

maybe 40, 43 points or so, then we'll be very happy.

"It means we'll be competing and likely in a position where we are now. That is the challenge - can we stay where we are? I've always said we

want to try and be in the top 10.

"But I don't want this tag of ours any more."

The dilemma for Bruce is how he sets about eradicating such a tag, and making his players believe they are capable of achieving big things with Sunderland.

"It's very difficult to turn back history, the way the club has been," added Bruce.

"The aim has to be where we have a mindset that we're a big club with big aspirations of finishing in the top 10.

"That has been the target from day one, to stop the club from being a yo-yo club because let us not forget that 18 months ago we were nearly relegated.

"I think there is progress being made, I'm very pleased with what we have here and how we are going about things.

"But the big challenge is trying to sustain it because last year we couldn't. Can we now sustain it over this winter and make a fist of it?

That's the question."

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