Sunday 25 September 2016

Bruce clings to hope of late twist

Published 16/05/2015 | 21:31

Hull manager Steve Bruce needs a victory over Manchester United
Hull manager Steve Bruce needs a victory over Manchester United

Hull manager Steve Bruce insisted all was not lost despite a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham leaving his side on the brink of relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

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Second-half goals from Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose mean the Tigers are two points adrift of safety and must win at home to Bruce's old club Manchester United next weekend.

Even victory against Louis van Gaal's side may not be enough, however, with Newcastle and Sunderland currently two and three points ahead respectively.

Sunderland, who also have a game in hand at Arsenal on Wednesday, visit Chelsea on the last day while Newcastle host West Ham.

"It's not lost," Bruce said. "We've got to beat Man United and I haven't done that in 17 years. I've got to turn the tables.

"Maybe there's a twist in it, maybe Man United owe me something after wrecking my knee and my hip and my ankle. We have to try to be positive."

The defeat to Tottenham capped a miserable seven days for Hull, who lost at home to Burnley last weekend before being hit with the news Jake Livermore had tested positive for cocaine.

Livermore, who has been suspended by the Football Association and his club, missed the match at White Hart Lane and could face a ban of up to two years.

"The week has been arguably the worst week I've had in terms of the result last week and then of course the shocking news of what fell on our laps on Wednesday," Bruce said.

"The team and their response today has been magnificent and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

"I couldn't have asked for them to play any better after the woeful performance last week.

"The frustration is how we produced what we produced last week and what we produced today.

"The reason we're in the bottom three is pretty evident today.

"We've had five or six really glorious opportunities and at this level you've got to take them."

Victory for Tottenham means they take another step closer towards qualifying for the Europa League next season.

A win at Everton next weekend will see Mauricio Pochettino's side finish at least sixth in the table, and they could climb to fifth if Liverpool slip up at Stoke.

"We deserved the victory and the most important thing for us is to stay in the same position in the table, to finish fifth or sixth," Pochettino said.

"I was very disappointed with the first half because we can play better and our energy wasn't good.

"In the second half though we changed and we scored two good goals."

In a message to the fans before kick-off, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy pledged his support to Pochettino, insisting the Argentinian needed a season "to assess his squad and instil his training and playing philosophy."

Tottenham's challenge for the top four has fizzled away in recent weeks but Pochettino insists his players will come back stronger.

"Always when you start with a new club and a new philosophy and a new group, it is not easy in the first season," Pochettino added.

"We need to be more consistent next season, we need to work hard and try to create a strong group."

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