Belfast Telegraph

Bruce answers critics with win

A triumphant Steve Bruce left Wearside wondering if Sunderland fans might finally accept he did a decent job for them after masterminding Hull's fourth successive victory over the Black Cats.

The former boss at the Stadium of Light saw his team recover from a dreadful start - they fell behind with just 30 seconds on the clock - to run out 3-1 winners and in the process end a 10-game winless Barclays Premier League run.

Victory lifted the Tigers out of the bottom three ahead of Sunday's home clash with fellow strugglers Leicester and handed their manager some welcome respite.

Asked about his recent record against his former employers, Corbridge-born Bruce said with a smile: "I take no real pleasure in that.

"Of course I get abused from the moment I walk in here until I go home, but the vast majority might just have a little look and think, 'Do you know what it is? He didn't do a bad job after all here'.

"It's the way it is. In some people's eyes I'm black and white, and today I am pleased to be."

Victory came despite the most unpromising of openings as Adam Johnson fired the the home side into a first-minute lead after Hull skipper Curtis Davies left his back-pass woefully short and then failed spectacularly to redeem himself as he attempted to shield the ball back to keeper Allan McGregor.

However, the visitors showed commendable powers of recovery and were back in it 12 minutes before the break when Gaston Ramirez's long-range effort took a wicked bounce in front of keeper Costel Pantilimon and flew inside the post.

Sunderland were furious not to be awarded penalties when first Alex Bruce and then Stephen Quinn appeared to handle inside the box in a late first-half flurry, and their misery was compounded after the break when James Chester and then substitute Nikica Jelavic struck, the latter again with the help of what looked like an unpunished handball offence, to wrap up the win.

Black Cats head coach Gus Poyet said: "Look, I have got a great life and I am not going to give the FA one penny [for talking about] the referee because he doesn't even need to have my respect, unfortunately.

"I am not going to give anything about him because he doesn't take anything from me or from this club. He needs to look after himself.

"For me, if the hands are not next to your body in the penalty box, it's a penalty, see you later, and the last one before the third goal is a handball as well from Quinn in the middle of the park.

"Until the penalty incidents it was a normal game, I don't think there was too much in it. There were two strange goals in the game and after the penalty incidents,the game changed completely, the atmosphere in the stadium and the emotions of the players.

"If you are there and you play and you care it's difficult to cope with those decisions, so it was a little bit strange after. We spent too much energy thinking why they were not given and not playing the game."

Bruce, however, did not agree with his opposite number.

He said: "Look for me, the referee has got it right. They are difficult but Quinn's in particular, his hand is up by his face, he is trying to protect his face and he does take it on the chin. When it's close to you like that how are you supposed to get out of the road of it?

"For me, the referee showed common sense."

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