Hull will only get stronger as they acclimatise to life back in the Championship, according to manager Steve Bruce.
The Tigers boss credited his side for their resilience, as they held out for a 1-0 win over 10-man Nottingham Forest at the City Ground that left them sitting in the play-off places in the Championship.
Abel Hernandez netted his fifth goal of the season, after failing to score an earlier penalty, just before half-time, after Sam Clucas had flicked on a Shaun Maloney corner.
But Hull’s victory also required a string of saves from Allan McGregor to hold the home side at bay.
“We are trundling along and, slowly but surely, getting better. Everyone wants entertaining, everyone wants to see good football and we do demand better. But we gave the ball away too often in the first half and that clouded the good things we were doing,” said Bruce.
“We are still trying to find our feet. We are a couple of months into the season, we are in a good position. It has been difficult, very difficult in fact.
“But, slowly but surely we are getting used to the fact that we were relegated; slowly but surely we are becoming difficult to beat. We also have a little bit of a goal threat, which you need at every level of the game.
“We have shown a resilience. We can improve, that was certainly the case today. We looked a threat. Abel has scored a goal, we have missed a penalty. We have had a couple of headed chances. We are improving slowly.”
Bruce admitted it was a poor penalty from Hernandez, who saw Dorus de Vries save well with his legs.
“It was an awful penalty from him. The other lads put the mockers on him by talking about how he never misses a penalty in training. It was an awful penalty, wasn’t it?” said Bruce.
“But he has got five goals for us now and that can only be a good thing. It was clever thinking from Shaun Maloney, to take such a quick corner. He caught everyone by surprise. He is a clever player. Sam Clucas might have scored himself, but Abel was there to put it in.”
Forest boss Dougie Freedman was frustrated with the result - but said there was little to criticise in his side’s performance.
“It was an outstanding performance, we were excellent. We played at a really high tempo. We created a lot of opportunities. It was a credible performance and we felt we deserved more from that performance,” he said.
“Overall, we are disappointed with the result, because we deserved more. But it was a good performance and we have to take encouragement from that.
“We were disappointed with the goal, it was a bad goal to give away, with Maloney taking a quick corner to catch us out. A lot of our play was very, very good.
“But the first goal was so, so crucial. That has never been as important in football as it is now. It changed the whole course of the game.”
Matt Mills - who had earlier conceded the penalty with a foul on Maloney - was sent off in the 87th minute following a clumsy challenge on Chuba Akpom.
“I have not seen a replay of it, but it looked reckless at the time,” said Freedman. “I have no complaints about the referee.”
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