Belfast Telegraph

Bruce: Hernandez deserved to start

Hull manager Steve Bruce credited a late dash from Croydon to Rome for making Abel Hernandez's barnstorming debut possible.

Bruce had expected to be without his club record signing for the home clash with West Ham due to a delay with his work permit.

But the relevant paperwork was completed just in time for the Tigers to complete a cross-continental jaunt to bring the £9.5million signing in over the weekend and he repaid Bruce's decision to throw him straight in by scoring a fine header in his side's 2-2 draw.

It might have been an even more memorable showing from the Uruguay international had a 25-yard drive five minutes later crept under the crossbar instead of ricocheting off it.

Asked what had persuaded him to pitch Hernandez directly into action after one training session, Bruce said: "It was just his attitude. He's been back (from international duty) and in Europe for three, four, five (days) waiting patiently for his passport.

"So we went to Croydon to the office for it, we flew to Rome with it and met him there in Rome.

"He only got here on Saturday afternoon, Sunday he was training and he was desperate to play. I'm so pleased we did it, even though he can hardly move now, but he'll be fine."

Hernandez's header put Hull 1-0 up at half-time only for opposite number Enner Valencia to top it with a superb piledriver from 25 yards.

A second City debutant, Mohamed Diame, starting against the club he left on deadline day, then restored the lead with an opportunistic goal after pickpocketing an errant Hammers throw-in.

The visitors levelled again when Diafra Sakho's low shot escaped Allan McGregor and was turned home by defender Curtis Davies, teeing up a tense finale that peaked when Valencia's injury-time header was deflected off the crossbar.

That left Bruce to reflect on an exciting spectacle, but one that did little to enhance either manager's reputation for defensive solidity.

"I'm just going to go and have a beer with Sam (Allardyce)...we're not really supposed to be playing like this, Sam and myself," he said.

"Sam and I both playing diamonds? Usually we're just buying diamonds for people's fingers.

"It was a really entertaining game of football. When I analyse it later I'll probably think it was a point gained.

"We've both brought people in to add fire power and score goals but there's also a knack of keeping people out which we need to do too."

Allardyce highlighted Valencia's stunning effort as the key moment, the Ecuador striker marking his first league start with an effort that will surely keep him in the XI for the foreseeable future.

"Our first goal is one of best we'll see this season and we've seen some terrific goals already," said Allardyce.

"The power and accuracy of the shot...it was past McGregor before he could move.

"It stunned the whole ground, the place went silent I think.

"It was that good a goal but it was very important to get back in the game.

"It was a nip and tuck first half but Hull got their noses in front.

"I thought we then took control for long periods and we had one or two chances to score but then we gifted them the second.

"I'm thinking 'come on lads, you can't allow us to play like this and not get anything' and we did bounce back very quickly."

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