Bruce - Away form must improve
Bruce insists his side's away form must improve if they are going to have a successful season.
By James Riach
Last Updated: 04/12/09 3:52pm
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce insists his side's away form must improve if they are going to have a successful season.
The Black Cats have lost five of their seven away games in the Premier League so far this campaign and travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham on Sunday.
Sunderland have been in fantastic form at home, dropping only five of their last 21 points, but only Blackburn, Burnley and Hull have worse records on the road.
Bruce is desperate for his team to start picking up points away from the Stadium of Light, but admits it is easier said than done.
"If we don't improve, it will ruin our season, that's for sure," he said.
"If we had just done averagely, another four points would have taken us up into fifth or sixth and, going into Christmas, that would be far, far healthier.
"But that's why the Premier League week in and week out is so tough and so demanding. If you are not quite at it, you are not 100% at it, you will be beaten.
"It doesn't matter where you go to, there are teams who can beat you in this league.
"But if you look from us down in the Premier League, there are not many teams who have won more than one or two games either.
"We have got to get a few results, it's as simple as that, to take the monkey off our back a little bit.
"It's got to be a mentality, of course it is, and it is one thing we have got to try to change if we can.
"We have got to have a better mentality away from home to be more difficult to beat."
Sunderland's task this weekend will not be made any easier by Roy Hodgson's Fulham, who have a good record at home.
The Cottagers have won four out of seven on their home patch this term, and Bruce praised the job that Hodgson has done with the London club.
"He (Hodgson) has had a wonderful couple of years, but you don't manage big clubs like he has and be a national manager if you are not good at what you do," he added.
"I don't think anybody could have done a better job than he has done down at Fulham. It's been an unbelievable couple of years for the fella.
"He has got together a very, very decent team, especially at home. At home, they are a handful, their record suggests that, so we know what to expect."
Meanwhile, Sunderland have embarked on a project to foster links in Egypt. The Black Cats have announced a partnership with the Arab Academy of Science and Technology and Alexandria-based El-Itthad El-Iskandary FC to develop football in the North African country.