Hull City manager Steve Bruce described Saturday’s 3-0 win in the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final with Derby County as their best performance for a very long time.
Abel Hernandez gave Hull the lead 30 minutes into Saturday’s contest at the iPro Stadium, with Jason Shackell deflecting Moses Odubajo’s strike into his own net before Andrew Robertson made it 3-0 in stoppage time.
Bruce expressed surprise at the winning margin and – despite Hull’s significant advantage – was keen to stress the importance of maintaining focus ahead of Tuesday’s second leg.
“It’s a big play-off game against a good Derby team and you don’t expect to win 3-0. I think it’s the best we’ve played in a long, long time,” Bruce told Sky Sports.
“When you’re away from home, to start with you’ve got to be rock solid. I don’t think they’ve had a chance. It’s testament to the team and the way they’ve worked.
“Everybody’s delighted now, but we need to keep our concentration. We need to go and enjoy the game, we’ve got to be ready and focused for Tuesday and make sure we get the job done.”
Derby head coach Darren Wassall conceded his team face a huge challenge to turn the tie around, saying: “We have left ourselves with a mountain to climb, it wasn’t the result we wanted, certainly not the result we expected, but we’ve got to show some character now.
“If you’re talking about the game, first 30 minutes we started really well, there was very little in the game and I thought we were getting some momentum.
“We always knew that the first goal was going to be crucial in this game; unfortunately we didn’t get it, but for the rest of the game Hull were the better side.”
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