Former Sunderland and liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has recalled a fight between defenders Nedum Onuoha and John Mensah which led to then manager Steve Bruce using an unusual peacekeeping strategy.
Nedum Onuoha in 2010 joined Sunderland on loan from Manchester City, John Mensah had also rejoined Sunderland on loan from Lyon. However the duo barely got along at the club.
Following a 3–1 loss against Wolverhampton Wanderers in May 2011, John Mensah and Nedum Onuoha had a dressing-room bust-up after Onuoha criticised Mensah’s display, sparking a confrontation in which the two had to be separated by teammates to stop it escalating. Then manager Steve Bruce labelled them as “a bunch of p*ssies.”
“John Mensah and Nedum Onuoha were two assertive players in the dressing room, not to mention aggressive,” Mignolet told The Times.
“After one of them played a short return pass, the other decided to make amends and make him feel small at half-time. At least that was the intention.
“Our captain [Lee Cattermole] jumped in and Bruce was called from another room where he was with his coaching staff.
“Bruce said: ‘Let them have a proper fight. If they want to fight, let them fight.’ There was nothing more than a little pushing and pulling. Bruce said: ‘See now. You are a bunch of p*ssies in the dressing room and on the field.’”
Both Onuoha and Mensah left the Stadium of Light at the end of the 2010-11 season, with Onuoha returning to Man City and Mensah returning to parent club Lyon after two seasons on loan.
Steve Bruce had the option to sign Mensah permanently, but opted not to due to persistent injury problems.