Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Bruce excited by 'Mourinho factor'

Chelsea have been installed as favourites following the reappointment Jose Mourinho

Steve Bruce admits the return of the "Mourinho factor" is something to be celebrated, even if it makes Hull's Barclays Premier League comeback even harder than it already was.

Tigers boss Bruce will go head to head with Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, in the first match of the Special One's second stint at Chelsea.

The Blues, who finished last season well off the pace of the title race, have been installed as favourites following the reappointment of the Portuguese and are widely expected to brush aside newly-promoted Hull.

But Bruce is an unashamed fan of his opposite number and is looking forward to the extra frisson his presence will bring.

"The fact that Jose is back is a 'wow'," said Bruce.

"I'm delighted he's back because we need people like him. He's quite remarkable in what he has done and not just at Chelsea; he's gone to Italy and done it; he's gone to Spain and done it; he started in Portugal and done it.

"That's the Mourinho factor. He brings certain standards and you can't argue with them because whether it's Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan or Real Madrid he wins the thing.

"I'm sure they'll be there or thereabouts.

"If we ever wanted a wake-up call about what the Premier League is all about we'll get it at Chelsea. It's a tough start for us.

"It's going to be packed to the rafters, the interest is remarkable in the return of Jose and we couldn't have wanted a bigger test or a bigger challenge. Let's hope this makes up for a lot of those dark, horrible nights in the Championship."

Bruce is desperate to avoid a return to those nights next season, but is confident that should the very worst case scenario unfold on the pitch this term, the off-field situation is stable.

Hull got themselves into dire financial peril after their last spell in the top tier, requiring hefty investment from current owner Assem Allam to stem a worrying downward spiral.

Bruce has operated on a transfer budget of under £15million since winning promotion, spending prudently through the summer to strengthen the squad in every department and he feels that development has been done sustainably.

"I think we have done really decent business to make sure the club is not falling to bits if armageddon does happen," he said. "You have to be a bit creative, a bit shrewd if you can.

"We've been on a certain budget and I said before we wouldn't be selling the club into turmoil again. I think we've been canny enough to give ourselves a real fighting chance.

"That is vitally important for a club like us. But if we are not good enough to stay up then at least the club will not be in freefall like it was a couple of years ago.

"Everybody gets sucked into the dream and gets carried away...how many clubs have we seen that happen to? I would love to spend another £50million but I'm realistic."

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