Monday 22 December 2014

Point keeps Bruce happy

Hull city 0 Aston Villa 0

Rory Dollard

Published 06/10/2013 | 05:00

Hull City's manager Steve Bruce on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at the KC Stadium, Hull. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire.

Hull manager Steve Bruce dismissed the quality of play in his side's 0-0 draw against Aston Villa as "bang average" but was happy to bank another point. Bruce's assessment of the encounter was fair, with neither side seriously threatening to break the deadlock.

The midfield areas were relatively open but that did not translate to clearcut chances, with Hull 'keeper Allan McGregor making the only noteworthy save of the afternoon following Gabriel Agbonlahor's first-half run and shot.

But while Bruce was able to critique the game as a spectacle, he was more than satisfied to see the Tigers' points tally reach 11 after seven games – well beyond even his own highest hopes at the start of the campaign.

"It was bang average if we're being honest," said Bruce. "It had 0-0 written all over it from the first five minutes and it never got any better.

"We have to give ourselves a kicking every now and again because we are disappointed. We've played really, really well in the last few weeks and today we haven't: simple as that.

"But we still got something out of the game and you have to be delighted about that.

"You can't fault the effort and even to get a 0-0 when we haven't played anywhere near the level we've been used to seeing recently is satisfying.

"There'll be times when we play badly and get nothing. We have to remind ourselves we're a newly-promoted club.

"We're delighted to pick up a point and who knows that could just be the point that makes the difference to us."

Hull were without top-scorer Robbie Brady for the first time this season, with the Republic of Ireland winger recovering from a hernia operation.

They missed his drive at times, though Ahmed Elmohamady worked hard to try to replicate it on the opposite flank.

Villa sorely missed their star striker Christian Benteke, who is out with a hip problem. Libor Kozak was a significant step down in quality in the centre-forward's role and Villa boss Paul Lambert must now hope Benteke does not come to further grief on international duty.

He has been called up by Belgium in spite of missing out here, but Lambert believes they are unlikely to be able to use him. "We're obliged to let him go and Belgium have to assess him but I trust Christian to be honest," said Lambert. "At this time I wouldn't say he's fit."

Sunday Independent

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