Football in Brief: We just can't put the ball in the net, says Larsson


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The Independent Football

If Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is granted a stay of execution by chairman Ellis Short this week, he might not be too tempted to turn to last Saturday's goalscorer for advice on survival. Sebastian Larsson yesterday gave his view of the 2-1 defeat by Wigan when he said: "We're just not good enough in the final third, let's be honest.

"We could have been two or three up after the opening 30 minutes, but that's been our problem all season. We don't take our chances. That's the Achilles heel because we haven't conceded that many goals."

The Sweden midfielder's view does ignore the fact that only four teams outside the top seven – Aston Villa, Blackburn, Bolton and Norwich – have scored more Premier League goals this term than Sunderland, who also have a better goal difference than any team outside the top seven.

But it is undeniable his team-mates have not scored when it mattered, and spurned several chances to tie up a win when 1-0 up on Wigan. Bruce may well now call on two summer recruits in the search for goals from midfield: Craig Gardner and David Vaughan.

Gunners eye £7m teenager Lascelles

The defender Jamaal Lascelles is being pursued by Arsenal and Chelsea ahead of next month's transfer window. The 17-year-old, who has played for England at under-18 and under-19 level, is rated at £7m by Forest who are expected to cash in on a player yet to figure for the first team. Derby-born Lascelles turns 18 next month and only signed his first professional deal at the club this year.

Reng wins book award with tale of tragedy

Ronald Reng yesterday won the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011, for A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke. Reng's biography of Robert Enke, the Germany goalkeeper who took his own life two years ago, was praised by the judging panel for its powerful and insightful nature as well as its sensitivity and sincerity.