Bruce stays positive as relegation scrap closes

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Steve Bruce is convinced Sunderland can drag themselves out of relegation trouble despite their 14-game wait for a Barclays Premier League victory.

The Black Cats could only draw 0-0 with Fulham on Sunday in the first of four successive games at the Stadium of Light, and have now taken only seven of the last 42 points on offer.

This form that has left them worryingly close to the bottom three and a crowd of 40,192 left Bruce and his players in little doubt as to their opinion as they left the pitch at the final whistle.

"We have got to handle it," said Bruce.

"The one thing here - which I know after living here - Fulham haven't got and Wigan and Birmingham and Bolton, there isn't the huge expectation that you have here. That goes with the territory of playing here and being able to handle it here."

He added: "Let's be fair, over the years, we haven't been quite up to it. That's the challenge and I am convinced we will get there."

"The concern at the moment is one thing: we have to get out of the run we are in.

"Who knows, the point we got, if we win next week - we keep saying it, if we win next week - it might be the point that takes us a couple of places up the table, who knows?

"We have got to stick together and learn from it and not shy away from it. It's a difficult time but I still think we will be okay."

Opposite number Roy Hodgson was understandably the happier of the two managers as he turned his attention to the FA Cup quarter-finals.

He said: "With 38 points with 10 games left to play, we can be reasonably confident we will have another year in the Premier League.

"As I have said all along, that was the major goal for us this season. The cup successes have been an incredible bonus but the major success, I always feel, for Fulham Football Club will be to keep the run of years in the Premier League going."

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