Sunderland boss still happy with Da Silva

The Paraguay captain has fallen out of favour in recent weeks, following the arrival of Matt Kilgallon from Sheffield United.

Bruce told the Sunderland Echo: “Paulo hasn’t been starting games over the last couple of weeks but he has been coming on as a substitute and he’s still a very important player for us.

“I think he’s got a big role to play at Sunderland.”

Bruce added: “He’s still adapting to the English game as well as the climate, the country and the culture and we’ve got to do it right.

“I know I’ve banged on quite a bit this season about the South Americans taking their time to hit their stride when they come over to the Premier League, but that has always been my experience.

“When I was at Wigan and when you look at other clubs too, it tends to take them at least six months to settle and then you see them blossom.

“Paulo’s had a lot on his plate and I’m very pleased with him but we’ve got to do it right to make sure we get the best out of him. He’s still got a lot of football to play before this season’s over.”