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Conciliatory Bruce still has dig at West Ham's Ilunga

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has attempted to defuse his row with West Ham and their assistant manager Steve Clarke, but still insists he was right to brand Herita Ilunga a cheat. Clarke responded angrily to Bruce's accusation that Hammers defender Ilunga played a part in Kenwyne Jones's weekend dismissal by play-acting.

Clarke said it was wrong of the Sunderland boss to pass comment on West Ham players.

Bruce said he accepted Clarke's observations but would not change his opinion, reports the Daily Mail.

Bruce said: "I take his point, I should not comment on his players but it affected my player because he got him sent off. I had a drink with Steve after the game and I will next time I see him. It is all part and parcel of the game and gives you something to talk about.

"I take his point I should not talk about his players sure but I am sure he would agree he rather over-reacted.

"I said at the time Kenwyne deserved to get sent off by pushing someone but the way Ilunga reacted I am not going to change my mind about that. If anyone disagrees I ask them to look at it again.

"Maybe I am not supposed to talk about other people's players. I will take that on board that's for sure but I am still not going to change my thoughts that the boy rolled around and play-acted and the rest of it.

"It is water under the bridge. We got a response from Steve. He won last night, I am pleased about that and I don't think he will give a monkeys. It's all forgotten.

"But I think I was in my right to voice my opinion on it. I said from the offset that Kenwyne was silly in what he did, I can't defend what he did.

"We all know the rules we all get carried away with it but I have got to say I believe the actions of the player got my player sent off, no matter what Steve Clarke says and does."

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