Hull City urged to bounce back quickly from Sheffield Wednesday defeat
STEVE Bruce will urge his Hull City side to prove a sobering 3-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday was nothing more than a blip when they face the demands of back-to-back away games this week.
At the end of a week that had seen Bruce crowned the Championship’s Manager of the Month for an outstanding December, the Tigers surprisingly fell to their first loss since November 24 on Saturday.
Robert Koren’s 83rd-minute header had looked like masking an out-of-sorts performance when cancelling out Reda Johnson’s opener, but an Eldin Jakupovic own goal and a third from Michail Antonio helped the Owls pull off a shock win at the KC Stadium.
Although stumbles for promotion rivals Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace ensured City remain second, Bruce wants his side to come out fighting when they travel to Leyton Orient for an FA Cup replay tomorrow and at Peterborough this weekend.
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“There’s an expectation here now,” he said. “We’ve set very high standards and when you fall short of them, people get frustrated.
“We have to accept that you can’t always play well, especially in a division as competitive as the Championship. We have to take it on the chin and look forward to bouncing back at Leyton Orient.
“We have to show a bit of resilience now and come out looking to put things right.”
If City had shown all the hallmarks of an automatic promotion hopeful by embarking on a run of eight games unbeaten, a return to league action brought an unforeseen stumble.
Against a Sheffield Wednesday side that began the evening inside the bottom three, the Tigers were a shadow of the side that thumped Leeds in the KC’s previous league fixture.
“Sometimes you have to give credit to your opponents. Sheffield Wednesday were big and strong against us and made it very difficult for us to play,” Bruce explained.
“We’ve been so good with our passing and movement and we didn’t see much of it.
“Sometimes it happens but we should have equalised and settled for a point.
“I don’t think Sheffield Wednesday were that much better than us but we made more mistakes out there than we’ve done since the Peterborough game here.”
The damage inflicted in defeat was lessened by defeats for Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace and, of the top five sides, only Leicester were able to claim a weekend win, 4-0 victors at Bristol City.
As the evening kick-off, City missed the chance to move five points clear of the play-off pack when falling to a first defeat in 10 league and cup games.
Bruce added: “Of course we were aware of the results beforehand but there’s still far too long to go before you start worrying about every last result. Start all that in March.
“It was a good opportunity to put daylight between ourselves and other teams. But we have to accept the defeat, which was disappointing, and move on.”