Bruce takes noth­ing for granted

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - EUROPEAN FOOTBALL - By John Percy at the iPro Sta­dium

Steve Bruce will take charge of his 200th game at Hull City this week, edg­ing closer to­wards a Premier League re­turn. Bruce is on course for the fourth pro­mo­tion of his man­age­rial ca­reer, a record that ar­guably de­serves more re­spect, af­ter this stroll against Derby vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed a Wem­b­ley date.

His vast ex­pe­ri­ence and tac­ti­cal aware­ness were cru­cial in this rout and the sec­ond leg should be a for­mal­ity. “It helps that I’ve been do­ing it for 18 years be­cause it’s a tough job so you rely on your ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “If you have any­thing about you, you want to man­age in the Premier League and take your team up there. We know how dif­fi­cult it is but it’s what we all want to try and do.”

Bruce was re­main­ing cau­tious, how­ever, for he has seen too many tales of the un­ex­pected dur­ing his four years in east York­shire. Hull may have one shoe in the fi­nal but Bruce knows they have the propen­sity to shoot them­selves in the foot.

“Derby are the only team to beat us at home this sea­son so as far as I’m con­cerned it’s not over,” he said. “We al­ways do our best to make a mess of it so I’ll try and make sure we fin­ish off the job.”

Hull were coast­ing by half-time af­ter Abel Hernán­dez’s low strike and a calami­tous own goal from Ja­son Shack­ell. An­drew Robert­son’s third goal, in added time, was a killer for Derby, who fluffed their lines spec­tac­u­larly.

Derby have spent more than £25 mil­lion this sea­son but they were short of Hull in ev­ery de­part­ment. Dar­ren Was­sall, the in­terim man­ager, will need all the help he can get from foot­ball ad­viser Harry Red­knapp ahead of the re­turn leg, which is surely a fu­tile mis­sion.

Mid­fielder Craig Bryson made a brave at­tempt to sound de­fi­ant. “We have to go there and be­lieve we can still get through,” he said. “If we think we’re beaten, then there’s no point us ac­tu­ally turn­ing up. We will go there as mas­sive un­der­dogs and try to get a re­sult”

Wem­b­ley in sight: Hull City man­ager Steve Bruce cel­e­brates with his play­ers af­ter the third goal at Derby on Satur­day

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