Sport Soccer

Sunday 21 September 2014

Steve Bruce: Long and Jelavic have made Hull a 'different animal'

Published 28/02/2014 | 12:32

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Hull City's Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic have had an immediate impact at the club.
Hull City's Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic have had an immediate impact at the club.

Hull manager Steve Bruce believes the club are a "different animal" since the arrival of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long.

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The Tigers splashed a combined £14million to bring the strikers in from Everton and West Brom in January and have been rewarded with immediate results.

The pair have forged an instant relationship up front and have shared five goals in the five games they have started in tandem.

Both players were cup-tied for Monday night's FA Cup fifth-round win over Brighton but will return for Newcastle's visit to the KC Stadium on Saturday.

Hull were 3-2 winners at St James' Park in the reverse fixture in September, but that was the only occasion they scored more than one goal in their first 12 league outings.

They thrashed Cardiff 4-0 last time out, Jelavic scoring twice and Long proving an ideal foil, and Bruce is enthused by his side's new cutting edge.

"I'd love to say it's all in the training but they're two very good players playing together," he said.

"There's a lot said about coaching but a good player is a good player and in management the more of them you've got the easier it becomes.

"They came in at just the right time and all of a sudden we're a different animal up front.

"That's no disrespect to what we had before but at the end of the day they're two £6million players and you'd expect that. We're delighted we've got them and I think they're a terrific partnership.

"That's what you invest in, they give you that little something you'd didn't have before."

As a boyhood Newcastle fan who went on to earn pantomime villain status among the club's supporters for his decision to take the Sunderland job, Hull's success earlier this season was particularly sweet.

But he insists the affect of a first away win on his team's confidence was more important than any personal satisfaction.

"The victory at St James' Park gave everybody a lift at a particular time, belief that we can play at this level," he said.

"It's never easy to win at St James' Park and it was a great game. We went behind and Sone Aluko won it for us with a great goal.

"That day all of the players looked at themselves and said it was going to be difficult in this league but we can perform if we play well.

"Going back to September, that gave everybody the boost we needed."

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