Bolton 1 Hull City 0: Bruce rips into Tigers players

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Hull manager Steve Bruce criticised his play-off bound team after a shock 1-0 Sky Bet Championship defeat at already relegated Bolton.

Substitute Stephen Dobbie’s 65th minute goal separated bottom from top and left manager Bruce fuming.

“Too often we throw in a performance like that,” he said. “That’s why we are in the position we are.

“We didn’t do the basics well enough to win the game. We were so slow in possession and so slow without it.

“At times it was like a friendly and we played like it was a friendly. All of them played within themselves.

“There were places up for grabs. That’s what I have thrown at them in the last two or three weeks.

“But you cannot turn it on and off. We will be better next week and we will be better in the play-offs. We couldn’t be any worse.

“We played well against Brentford (on Tuesday) but today we were nowhere near it. That performance has not done anyone any use.”

Bruce made six changes to the side that beat the Bees 2-0 to record a third win in four games, including a first appearance for rookie defender Brian Lenihan.

Asked if he now knew his side for the play-offs, Bruce added:”It has made up my mind.”

Robert Snodgrass and Chuba Akpom hit the crossbar while returning captain, Michael Dawson, had a second half header cleared off the line.

“Chuba could have been the one who won us the game because he had our best chances,” said Bruce.

“He is a young player who will go up and down because of his age. But the three or four chances that fell to him he wasn’t able to take any of them which every striker needs. And being brutally honest he should be scoring them.”

But Wanderers also created sufficient chances to have won the game with greater ease. In the end Dobbie’s fourth goal of the season from full-back Lawrie Wilson’s cross earned Jimmy Phillips his first win as interim manager at the penultimate attempt.

Phillips will not be named as Neil Lennon’s permanent successor. But he has restored pride back in the club and given a host of promising youngsters vital first team experience.

“We all know it has been a wretched season,” said Phillips. “But what was most pleasing was the unity between the players on the pitch and the people in the stands.

“We were into the 92nd minute and Hull were throwing everything at us and the fans were willing us to see the game out and that bodes well for the future.

“It will send everyone home with hope for the future which is key. We came up against a good team and made it as difficult as we could for them to play against us.”

Left-back Tyler Garratt received a full debut while George Newell, son of former Blackburn and Everton striker Mike Newell, was also blooded as a 63rd minute replacement for Emile Heskey.

“They have been there on merit,” said Phillips of his young charges.

“Both Tyler and George did well. But that is going to be the future and the way the club is going to go.

“This was a hard working team performance that got us the win.”

Pressed for any information on Lennon’s likely replacement, Phillips smiled and said: “I am the wrong person to be asking that question to.

“I am not sure what the owners are contemplating. I am sure after the Fulham game there will be a lot of conversations between people at various levels.”

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