Bob ‘surprised’ at Bruce sacking

Steve Bruce after Wigan's late, late goal cost him his job
Steve Bruce after Wigan's late, late goal cost him his job

ROBERTO Martinez is surprised Steve Bruce was not given more time to allow his revamped Sunderland squad to settle.

Bruce was shown the door at the Stadium of Light after a string of poor results left the Black Cats 16th in the Premier League and just two points clear of the drop zone.

Wigan boss Martinez, whose side won 2-1 on Wearside at the weekend to leave Sunderland without a win in four games, was shocked the board were not more patient with Bruce after an influx of summer signings.

“That was a little bit of a surprise,” he said. “It’s been a big turnaround in the summer.

“It’s been a lot of players coming into that dressing room. You don’t really know what’s happening in other football clubs, but you feel that time is needed when you bring a lot of players into the football club just for the players to settle in, to feel themselves and how they can perform at their best. That always takes time.

“In football, unfortunately, nothing surprises you anymore. Stability and patience are two words that are needed in a football club.”

While Sunderland’s home defeat to the Latics appeared to be the final nail in Bruce’s coffin, Martinez does not believe it was the trigger for his sacking.

“When there is a change in management, in any football club, it’s because you’re in the middle of a wrong dynamic of results. It’s never for one result,” he said. “That would never happen.”

Meanwhile, Martinez believes his own club has a bright future because chairman Dave Whelan has stuck with him “through thick and thin”.

Martinez has endured a difficult two-and-a-half years in charge at the DW Stadium but his success in avoiding relegation with a small club attracted overtures from Aston Villa in the summer.The Spaniard resisted them to stay with Latics, whom he first joined as a player in the old Third Division in 1995, and Whelan rewarded him with a new contract.

Whelan, a former professional footballer himself with Blackburn, has since continued to back the 38-year-old throughout a difficult start to the current Premier League campaign.

Martinez said: “Big changes take a long time and the chairman understood that and he supported me through thick and thin.

“Now we have the rewards, two years later we have an average group that has played a lot of games in the Premier League but with a very young age, and that gives you real good assets in the football club.

“But I think the way to play now is quite established in our football club, and to do that you need to be a chairman that has been involved on the playing field – not just in football– but on the playing field.”