Hull City 0 Aston Villa 0: Tigers draw ‘bang average’ moans Bruce

Hull City's manager Steve Bruce on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match.
Hull City's manager Steve Bruce on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match.
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Hull manager Steve Bruce dismissed the quality of play in his side’s 0-0 draw against Aston Villa as “bang average” but was happy to bank another Barclays Premier League point.

Bruce’s assessment of the encounter was fair, with neither side seriously threatening to break the deadlock.

The midfield areas were relatively open but that did not translate to clearcut chances, with Hull keeper Allan McGregor making the only noteworthy save of the afternoon following Gabriel Agbonlahor’s first-half run and shot.

But while Bruce was able to critique the game as a spectacle, he was more than satisfied to see the Tigers’ points tally reach 11 after seven games - well beyond even his own highest hopes at the start of the campaign.

“It was bang average if we’re being honest,” Bruce said.

“It had 0-0 written all over it from the first five minutes and it never got any better.

“We have to give ourselves a kicking every now and again because we are disappointed. We’ve played really, really well in the last few weeks and today we haven’t: simple as that.

“But we still got something out of the game and you have to be delighted about that. You can’t fault the effort of the commitment and even to get a 0-0 when we haven’t played anywhere near the level we’ve been used to seeing recently is satisfying.

“There’ll be times when we play badly and get nothing. We have to remind ourselves we’re a newly-promoted club.

“We’re delighted to pick up a point and who knows that could just be the point that makes the difference to us.”

Hull were without top-scorer Robbie Brady for the first time this season, with the Republic of Ireland winger recovering from a hernia operation.

They missed his drive at times, though Ahmed Elmohamady worked hard to try to replicate it on the opposite flank.

The Egyptian provided the cross for Hull’s best chance, which fell to striker Danny Graham.

He fluffed his connection and has now gone 24 matches - for Swansea, Sunderland and Hull - since his last goal in January.

Paul Lambert could not summon much more enthusiasm than his opposite number, but left content that a draw was the right result.

He highlighted the amount of time Villa spent on the ball but admitted that was not enough to warrant three points.

“I don’t think either team did enough to win it, but from our point of view we had the lion’s share of the ball,” said the Scot.

“Someone has told me we had 75% of possession in the first half hour and for an away side in this league that is a vast amount.

“I never thought we’d lose it but equally I never really thought we’d win it.

“I didn’t think either team really deserved (to win) it.”

Villa sorely missed their star striker Christian Benteke, who is out with a hip problem.

Libor Kozak was a significant step down in quality in the centre-forward’s role and Lambert must now hope Benteke does not come to further grief on international duty.

He has been called up by Belgium in spite of missing out here, but Lambert believes they are unlikely to be able to use him.

“We’re obliged to let him go and Belgium have to assess him but I trust Christian to be honest,” added Lambert.

“He’ll know himself how he’s feeling. At this time I wouldn’t say he was fit.”