sport

Bruce savours remarkable rise

Steve Bruce has admitted it is hard to believe how far Hull City have come in the past two years, but says they cannot afford to play as poorly again as they did against Aston Villa.

Hull were beaten 3-1 by Villa on Saturday but results elsewhere this weekend guaranteed their Premier League survival, as Fulham and Cardiff City both lost and Norwich City drew with Chelsea on Sunday.

The Tigers have also made it through to the FA Cup final against Arsenal and can look forward to playing in the Europa League next season regardless of whether they win at Wembley.

Having only won promotion from the Championship at the end of last term, Bruce has been thrilled with what they have achieved but insists they must avoid complacency.

"On an awful day, if someone had said to me two years ago we'd be safe in the Premier League, planning for a FA Cup final and in Europe, they'd be carting me off in white coats," said Bruce in the Hull Daily Mail.

"It's quite remarkable. But we'll not last long in Europe playing like that."

Speaking about the loss to Villa, Bruce added: "We won't play that badly again. We couldn't be any worse.

"It might be just a gentle reminder. If we were getting ahead of ourselves, football has a habit of bringing you down a peg or two.

"I haven't had to rant and rave on many occasions but that was so not like us.

"We were lackadaisical, we didn't win anything at all that we shouldn't have done.

"That upset me more than anything. It's not like us. We've prided ourselves on being tough to beat and tough to break down.

"What goes on in a dressing room stays there but there were a few words to be said."

Hull's FA Cup showdown with Arsenal is on 17 May but first they must face Manchester United and Everton in the league and Bruce does not want to look too far ahead.

He said: "It's difficult to keep everyone focused. Everyone in Hull is talking about it.

"Whether they've got their tickets, whether they've got their suits, how their families are getting there. All the nonsense that goes with it.

"Let's be fair, it's inevitable. Keeping people focused on the job ahead is difficult but we've still got a job to do in the Premier League."