Hull boss Bruce still has hope of staying up
17 May 2015, 09:15
London - Hull City manager Steve Bruce believes his team can stay in the Premier League next season, despite losing 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Goals by Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose left the visitors two points behind Newcastle United with just one game remaining, albeit with a better goal difference.
Hull must now gain nothing less than a victory over Manchester United at the KC Stadium a week on Sunday -- and hope other results go their way -- if they are to stay up.
However, former United defender Bruce believes that, despite a constant lack of firepower, his side are capable of securing a third successive campaign in the top flight.
"It's not lost, we've got to beat Manchester United and I haven't done that in 17 years, so I've got to turn the tables. So maybe there's a twist in it," Bruce said.
"Maybe United owe me something, after wrecking my knee and my hip and my ankle, so you never know," he added ruefully.
"And we've got to try and be positive -- this week after Burnley has arguably been the worst week in terms of the result last week and then the shocking news of Jake Livermore last Wednesday." Dark place
The suspension of Hull's former Tottenham midfielder, amid reports England international Livermore had taken cocaine, further complicated the run-in for Hull.
Bruce said his discussion with Livermore was perhaps the most difficult he has ever held with a player.
"I'm shocked, saddened, disappointed, angry, all of those things. Why wouldn't I be?," the manager said.
"I can't come to terms with it to be honest. But society today is unfortunately like that.
"The conversation I had with him is the hardest one I've had with any footballer I've ever had. To inform him he's failed a drugs test is not easy.
"He couldn't concentrate or focus on anything so it didn't really matter what I said."
Bruce added: "He's obviously in a dark place, and we'll see what the outcome is with the FA and how they respond to that.
"We're all let down, from everyone concerned with the club and everyone concerned with football. But the biggest one he's let down, with a blossoming career, is himself."
Saturday's game saw the return of Nikica Jelavic to the starting line-up, following a season ravaged by injury, in a welcome piece of good news for Bruce.
"We can see what Jelavic brings to the team, but we have been without him for six months," Bruce said.
Meanwhile, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said his side were in a good position to claim a Europa League spot.
This victory kept Tottenham a point ahead of Southampton, who thrashed Aston Villa 6-1 on Saturday, and a win at Everton on the final day of the season will guarantee European football at White Hart Lane next term.
"It's very important for us to keep in the same position in the table, we have tried to finish fifth or sixth," said Pochettino, who accepted results had been mixed since he joined Tottenham from Southampton in pre-season.
"Overall, we have had some good and bad games. Some were unbelievable like Chelsea at home, and Arsenal and others are better to forget.
"I think that when you start at a new club and you settle in and you put your ideas in a new group in the first season it is not easy.
"We need to be more consistent next season, and be more strong, and to work very hard during the summer to create a really strong group," the Argentinian added.