Sunderland boss Steve Bruce admits his side are in the thick of a relegation battle after being beaten 2-0 at his former club Birmingham.

Goals from Sebastian Larsson and Craig Gardner lifted City above the injury-hit Black Cats who have taken one point from the last nine games after being contenders for a European spot in January.

Bruce said: "We are in it (a relegation battle), no question about it. There are 10 teams in it and we are one of them. The lads know we have not got enough points. We have one point from nine games and we've got to try and arrest that slump."

He added: "There have been a few times recently when I have said the performance has not been good enough.

"But I could not ask any more from a young, makeshift side today.

"We have to try and take the positives out of today and if we play like that, we can still turn the season around and finish with a flourish."

"We've now got back-to-back home games with Wigan and Fulham so it is an opportunity to put things right.

"Maybe 41 points will be enough to stay up. One win might do it. I think so."

Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet was at fault for the first goal from Larsson.

Bruce said: "You can't legislate for individual errors. The keeper has been excellent but will be disappointed with that error. The first goal was an awful one to give away and, apart from the two goals, I can't remember Birmingham creating any chances."

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Topics:
#Sunderland
#Fulham
#Simon Mignolet
#Football
#Premier League
#Steve Bruce
#Wigan Athletic
#Birmingham
#Craig Gardner
#Sebastian Larsson