NORWICH CITY 2 SUNDERLAND 1

Connor Wickham heads towards the Norwich goal.
Connor Wickham heads towards the Norwich goal.

STEVE Bruce accepted responsibility for a disappointing defeat to newly-promoted Norwich City.

“I pick the team, so I have to shoulder the blame,” the Sunderland boss said.

But he could hardly blame himself for the way so many of his players performed under the standards expected of them.

Norwich’s enthusiasm and application seemed to stop Sunderland in their tracks and too many of the visiting players seemed to wilt under the pressure they were put under.

Instead of stamping their Premier League authority on the game, Sunderland went into siege mode, hurrying and misplacing passes as the waves of yellow shirts beat down on them.

And in the end, no-one in red and white could argue that they hadn’t been well-beaten on the night – not even their manager.

“If we are going to be honest we didn’t play well enough,” admitted Bruce.

Full story in today’s Sportmail.