Steve Bruce claims Norwich City Premier League win proves Hull City can prosper

Hull chief Steve Bruce hailed victory over Norwich City as a starting point in their bid for Premier

Hull chief Steve Bruce hailed victory over Norwich City as a starting point in their bid for Premier League survival. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Hull City boss Steve Bruce insists the Tigers' battling Premier League win over Norwich proves they can survive in the top flight.

The former Canaries' stalwart believes the defensive resolution that underpinned their Championship promotion surge will also form a key part of their bid to prove the doubters wrong. Hull were forced to fight a rearguard action for more than an hour at the KC Stadium after Yannick Sagbo's rush of blood.

'We are obviously delighted to get up running, it was vitally important, but we couldn't have made it more difficult for ourselves with the sending off,' said Bruce. 'Last season we got ourselves promoted because defensively we were organised. We didn't score a lot but defensively our organisation was sound. If we are going to make a fist of it in the Premier League this season in my opinion we are going to have to be very good without the ball.

'We have worked very hard for the past three months on not having the ball and how to defend. They all want to be proper footballers, but we always knew this was going to be a big game for us at home. I'm delighted we got away with it because we had to defend for large periods of the game.

'It gives us a bit of confidence that we can play at this level although we know we have to be at our best.'

Bruce offered no defence for Sagbo's apparent head butt gesture towards Russell Martin barely five minutes after his pivotal role in the match-defining penalty incident, when he was adjudged to have been pinned illegally by Michael Turner.

'I've got no excuse for that, what he's done is just stupid, he nearly cost the team and we've lost him for three games,' said Bruce. 'We'll deal with him, he's new, but I don't think he's got a malicious bone in his body. He's done something stupid and we'll take action. It's one of them when they are both grappling with each and he has put his head there. The boy was silly and had a rush of blood.

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'He (Sagbo) hasn't head-butted the lad, but he went through the action and when you're 10 yards away from the referee, you're going to be red-carded and rightly so.

'Looking at the penalty when it happened, it looked clumsy but I haven't seen a replay. You see them given and you see them not given. Perhaps that was one when the big decision went our way.'

Bruce concurred with Chris Hughton's post-match assessment Norwich failed to make the most of their numerical advantage, with Tigers' keeper Allan McGregor only forced into one stunning reaction stop to deny Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

'We did fantastically well to hang on and defend for our lives,' he said. 'Our organisation and sheer will to win was pretty evident for everybody to see. Our goalkeeper made a couple of saves, but I don't think Norwich were able to create the type of chance that they really wanted and obviously we're delighted about that. All credit has to go to the players who stuck to their task and how we wanted to go about it.

'You can set them up and say 'go out there and play like this', but they have to have the legs to do it, the attitude to do it and that was there for everybody to see. Norwich never really carved us open and we were resolute and determined. We got promoted last season by being difficult to beat and we showed signs that we can play when we've got the ball, but we must be very, very good without the ball. We can take enormous pride that on the day the same type of organisation has again got us three points.'