Bruce looking for Tigers’ own backlash after winless January

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FORGET about a Tottenham Hotspur backlash, Steve Bruce wants to see a positive reaction from his own players today as Hull City look to bounce back from four straight defeats in January.

The Tigers host Spurs, thrashed 5-1 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night, on the back of a wretched January that saw Bruce’s men fail to score in the league.

Hull City's Shane Long

Hull City's Shane Long

Defeats to Norwich City and Crystal Palace in their last two outings were a particular disappointment due to both clubs being below Hull in the Premier League table.

Bruce said: “The one thing I could never question of this team since I have been here is the resilience of them.

“They are desperate to stay here (in the Premier League). The effort and endeavour of them was there for all to see on Tuesday (at Palace). We were unfortunate.

“But we do need a big result and, hopefully, it comes against Spurs. One win gives you a huge boost and it is a big opportunity because we are at home.

“Our home record has been good, picking up a lot of points, so let’s hope we can do it again.”

Hull have won just once in 10 league games, a record that has been somewhat masked by that solitary triumph being a 6-0 thrashing of Fulham.

However, after losses at Carrow Road and Selhurst Park, nervous glances are starting to be made towards the bottom three.

Four points separate Hull from third-bottom West Ham United and Bruce admits his side need to return to winning ways.

“The league is quite different this season,” said the Tigers’ chief. “Even at the top it is tight and below that it is all bunched up.

“Usually, there is one or two (clubs) cut adrift at one end and the other. That has not happened this year.”

Goals have been a major problem for Hull this term but Bruce is hoping today’s home debuts of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long can see his side hit the scoring trail.

He said: “That is why we have invested heavily. We missed two great chances the other night. But it was a defender and a midfield player who had the best chances. We have to score from midfield and other areas.

“As I keep saying to everyone, in the bottom half of the Premier League we are not alone. That is why the Juan Matas of this world cost what they do, because it is very difficult in this league.

“The bottom half of the division will be struggling to score goals, the hardest part of the game,” he said.

Despite the midweek thrashing at White Hart Lane by Manchester City, Spurs will make the trip to East Yorkshire sitting fifth in the table and just three points adrift of the Champions League places.

Bruce said: “Anyone who plays Manchester City can lose 5-1 or 4-1. There is nothing new there and we see how Manchester City are so strong.

“They are blowing the league away at the moment.

“There is no shame in that; we know Spurs have some outstanding players and are making a fist of getting in the top four.

“Spurs are a really good side. If you look at their squad on paper and how much they’ve invested in the summer, they’re a threat wherever they go.

“But it is about us and whether or not we can play well enough to cause them a few problems.

“They will not have liked Wednesday night if they’ve got any pride about them, which I’m sure they have. They will be seeing this as a fixture where they can bounce back straight away so I don’t think it has done us any favours.”

As for Hull’s poor start to 2014, Bruce replied: “Since Christmas we’ve played two of the big teams. The disappointment is not picking up anything against Norwich and Palace.

“They are the bread and butter games for us.”