The division’s eagerly-awaited match of the day conclusively ended in the Tigers’ favour, with midfielders Mo Diame, Sam Clucas and sub Tom Huddlestone all finding the net in an outstanding team display by leaders Hull, who on this evidence very much look like being the team to beat in the Championship this term.
A vintage afternoon at the KC was rounded off by a superb 83th-minute strike from distance from Huddlestone, with Hull full value for their three-goal victory - after earlier goals from Diame, just before the break and man-of-the-match Clucas, midway through the second period.
In the process, Hull recorded their fifth league win on the spin for the first time since January 2005 and their fifth successive clean sheet to boot.
Bruce said: “Considering the opposition, it would probably have to be the best performance of season.
“Apart from the (David) Nugent chance early on, after that there was only one team who dominated. it was a really terrific performance and typical of how they are playing at the minute.
“They are are all cock-a-hoop and tuned in to what they want to do.”
“We looked a very decent team today. Long may that continue.
“Middlesbrough are a good side. And whether we played well or they didn’t play as well as they could do, you are never sure.
“But I have always said that if we finish above Middlesbrough, I think we will give ourselves an outstanding chance as I do think they are one of the teams to beat and are well-organised, well-drilled and with good players.
“But today, they came up against a better team, simple as that. On the day, we were the better team by a distance.”
Bruce’s counterpart Aitor Karanka fully agreed with Bruce’s post-match assessment and had no argument with the outcome, which equalled the Basque’s worst defeat since taking over at Boro almost two years ago.
Karanka, who bemoaned his side’s lack of ambition, said: “The result was completely fair for me.
“The performance was really bad. We have to think in these two weeks (international break).
“We need to more ambitious. Hull are one of the best teams in the league and their ambition was more than ours.
“After they scored, they played with more intensity and we didn’t play with the same intensity.”