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Sunderland boss Steve Bruce impressed by John Mensah

John Mensah
Mensah lasted 83 minutes before he was substituted

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has paid tribute to defender John Mensah for playing through the pain barrier in Saturday's 3-2 defeat by Wolves.

Mensah had been out with a shoulder injury but was drafted in as cover for long-term absentees Michael Turner and Titus Bramble at the centre of defence.

"He's put himself in a position for the team and he shouldn't be playing really," Bruce said.

"His shoulder is strapped, he's had a dislocation, it's commendable."

The Wearsiders were made to rue the loss of their regular centre-halves as they tumbled to a first loss in five matches.

"I said at the start of the week we have to make sure we cope without Bramble and Turner and today we were nowhere near solid enough to what we've been," Bruce added.

To give away the goals we've given away in the last 10 minutes is criminal really

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce

"That's the big challenge for us, we've prided ourselves on giving nothing away, but today was back to those awful days where we're far too open, individual errors, people not doing their jobs right, all over the place at times and it was difficult for us.

"It just shows how valuable they are, only Chelsea and Manchester City had kept clean sheets more than us, so we were doing something right in that department.

"But today, to give away the goals we've given away in the last 10 minutes is criminal really, we can't keep defending like that."

Sunderland remain seventh in the Premier League with 20 points from 15 matches.

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