Hull City home defeat 'unacceptable', says Steve Bruce
STEVE Bruce will demand improvements from his Hull City side when Crystal Palace arrive at the KC tomorrow night after overseeing an unacceptable display in defeat to Burnley.
Former Tigers midfielder Dean Marney returned to haunt his old employers when his first-half strike proved the difference in a 1-0 win for the Clarets, their seventh in succession against City.
Bruce offered no excuses for the below-par performance and called on his players to collectively right their wrongs against second-placed Palace tomorrow.
"The disappointing thing is that we've lost seven games now," said Bruce. "For such a good season that we're having, that's a lot of games to be losing.
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"I believe that if we're not playing well, we've got to make sure we don't get beaten, especially at home. We've got to learn to find that resilience.
"I'm not going to criticise individuals but we had two or three of our big players that were poor. The first-half performance was nowhere near good enough.
"We can't play teams off the pitch every week and sometimes you need to make sure you do the simple things right. We've got a big game against Palace now and we have to be better."
City's third home defeat of the season saw them fall one place to fifth in the Championship, five points adrift of the automatic promotion places.
The deficit can be stripped back to just two points with an instant response against the Eagles tomorrow, but City will need to find sharp improvements after Saturday's loss to Burnley.
Bruce could find few positives from the fixture, but did single out David Stockdale for praise on his debut.
The goalkeeper, signed on loan from Fulham at the end of last week, replaced Ben Amos, who could not even make the bench, in the City side.
"I thought David was easily our best player," said Bruce. "He needed to be in the first half.
"The save he got up on to the bar to deny Ross Wallace was a great save. He had an air of authority about him and that's why we've brought him here, to let the other two goalkeepers learn from him a bit.
"I just wanted to give Ben a break from it all.
"He's had 20 games on the trot which is a lot for a young goalkeeper.
"I wanted to let him have the weekend off but he'll certainly be in contention for Tuesday. It was nothing other than that. Hopefully, we'll see him back in training and refreshed."
Although Stockdale will continue in goal for the Tigers tomorrow night, Bruce will not rule out changes to rejuvenate his side.
Alex Bruce (knee) and Liam Rosenior (groin) are both big doubts to face Palace, while David Meyler and Robbie Brady are both pressing for the first starts of their loan spells.
Bruce said: "I'll look at it because we've got one or two, Alex and Liam Rosenior, carrying knocks.
"They've been manfully battling on but I don't care who you are, it catches up with you eventually when you don't train and just play games.
"To be fair to the two of them, they've been playing with bad injuries. We purposefully left Paul McShane out because we wanted to err on the side of caution with Tuesday's game in mind."
Stockdale's big chance – Page 25