Hull City chief Steve Bruce shows solidarity with Norwich City’s Chris Hughton
07:00 20 January 2014
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Hull City chief Steve Bruce had plenty of sympathy for Chris Hughton despite Norwich City inflicting a late Premier League 1-0 defeat on the Tigers.
Bruce is no stranger to the fluctuating fortunes of top flight management after spells at Birmingham, Wigan and Sunderland prior to his arrival on Humberside. The former Canary insists every Premier League boss operates under intense pressure after the future of his Norwich counterpart was a hot topic during the build-up.
“It is about expectation,” he said. “We are a newly-promoted club, everybody expects us to be in the bottom three and when you have been here for two or three years everybody expects you to be in the top six. That is how it is in the Premier League, but Chris has been around it a long time and he knows how to cope with it. We are new to the Premier League and we have to find a way to pick up points on the road. We expected it to be a right scramble and you could throw a blanket over the bottom ten right now. We are all trying to make a fist of getting to those 38 or 40 points and it is about the accumulation of points. We are putting a lot of pressure on our home form but I would say we have been to all the top ten, apart from Manchester United, so that has been difficult but we have to make sure we have the same mentality.”
Bruce admitted Ryan Bennett’s 87th minute winner left a sour taste.
“If it goes for you in those circumstances you are ecstatic but it is so disappointing when you lose from a corner in the last minute or so.” He said. “Our defenders had been magnificent until then because we had to be. We weren’t as organised as we should have been. (Yannick) Sagbo had come off so we expected (Nikica) Jelavic to pick him up and unfortunately (Liam) Rosenior came off the post, which is his job to defend that area, and they head it into the net. He was arguably our best player but he has come off the line to pick someone up.
“I thought until James Chester went off we were on top and that upset things. We had to change our shape a bit and we moved back towards our own goal in the second half. I felt a draw was a fair result because neither keeper had much to do but the key moment in the game has gone their way.
“In truth we didn’t really play well enough. They huffed and puffed but overall we were very comfortable, but you know set pieces are a big part of the game.”
Bruce blooded Jelavic following his move from Everton and the Croatian international struck the base of John Ruddy’s post in the early skirmishes.
“He has done everything right,” said Bruce. “His connection with it was right, he struck it really well and I was expecting it to nestle in the back of the net. It has hit the post and missed by two inches. What a start that would have been for the lad. In the first hour before he tired he showed what a good player he is and what a good player he will be. That was the one piece of quality we showed all game. He will be a big acquisition for us.”