Monsieur Salut is back from froggieland and champing at the bit ahead of his SoL debut this Saturday (and two away games already pencilled in). Will the Lads send him away as happy as he felt at 10 to 5 on Saturday? …
It has already been pointed out here that even a win cannot stop the carping.
Two days after Sessegnon and Bendtner gave us three points at Bolton, the cauldon of negativity can be heard simmering away without any attempt on Salut! Sunderland‘s part to turn up the heat.
Most people who have submitted comments (the total, incidentally, falling some way short of when we were all doom and gloom) have been given a lift by the performance. But not all …
“At the end of the season this … will be shown to be a completely insignificant result in the grand scheme of things against a woeful side that will be relegated. The last nine months of unabated torture will not be wiped clean by beating Bolton, (as virtually anyone can do that right now). Bruce out!”
And Bill Taylor disputes the idea that we’ve turned the corner:
“I’m not sure we’ve reached the corner yet. This was just a few steps in the right direction.”
CSB was much more willing than Jeremy, and more willing than Bill, to see what happens next:
Still much to do, could be yet another false dawn, but S(teve) B(ruce)’s head is still on chopping block, only he can remove it by building convincingly on this.
For M Salut, and also M Sixsmith, victories are to be acclaimed when they happen (sorry, but the former does not even subscribe to the view that it’s OK to lose provided that defeat sends Newcastle United down; he wants SAFC to win every game in sight). Bolton was a good, solid away win. No more, no less.
But there is nothing other than respectable about the views of Jeremy, Bill and CSB. We have been expected to endure a great many woeful performances under Steve Bruce.
Up until the start of this season, he could just about get away with saying it was not his team. But having allowed – if not forced by circumstance or, perhaps, direction from above – to let a succession of Premier-standard strikers slip away, without replacement, he knew it was for him to prove that his squad was up to the task of moving us up to a new level. That meant better than a creditable but fortuitous 10th top finish.
Eight games into the current Premier campaign, he had not done so; we were hovering immediately above the drop zone – indeed we are still just above it now.
For all that, 2-0 at Bolton was a good win. It matters not that Wanderers have had a diabolically bad run of home defeats, nor that they are early-season favourites to go down. This was still the sort of game we have been eminently capable of losing, or struggling to draw. If Bruce is to be slammed for single goal defeats to Norwich, Newcastle and Arsenal (his and SAFC’s actual culpability diminishes in that order), he must be given a fair crack of the whip and applauded for pulling off a two-goal win at the Reebok.
That, however, is all he needs to be given for now.
One win, against abysmal opposition, fundamentally changes little.
If it is followed by three points at home to Villa, a heads-held-high showing at Old Trafford and a really strong haul from what follows (Wigan, Fulham and Blackburn all at home; Wolves away), M Salut will be happy. In the Bruce in/Bruce Out stakes, he will return from an uncomfortable Out-facing position on the fence to a slightly hesitant In.
That leaves plenty of work to be done. Don’t take it from me. Don’t even listen to the serious doubters. Take it – courtesy of The Journal – from Nicklas Bendtner, a player who oozes class, confidence and awareness:
“It’s major that we carry this forward to the next game. The next one is major. We have to play like we played the second half here. We have got to go into it with the same belief. It is no good coming away from here thinking we have won the game and everything is sorted. This is the Premier League and if you don’t win week in, week out, get points on the table, you don’t climb. …
We have put a marker down and we have to try to carry that over to next weekend. If we come out and play badly on Saturday then what we have achieved here is worth nothing. We can’t let that happen … If you looked at the stats, it said it all. We had played a team where we should have won.”
There you have it. If our own Jeremiah is to be accused of doom-mongering, even after a decent win, the level-headed caution expressed by our world-class, on-loan striker tells you all you need to know about the Spring-making limitations of the swallow.