Bruce pleased with Hull progress

Steve Bruce
Hull City manager Steve Bruce. Photo: PA

Hull manager Steve Bruce believes the club's achievements this season represent "a dream come true" for supporters.

The Tigers had a weekend of mixed emotions, turning one of the sloppiest performances of the season in a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa while seeing results elsewhere fall perfectly.

Everton's defeat to Manchester City ensured that Hull's FA Cup final appearance would guarantee a place in Europe next season, regardless of the result, before Norwich's draw at Chelsea confirmed their mathematical safety from relegation.

For a side whose only stated ambition upon their return to the top flight was 17th place and another year of Premier League football, it represents a season to defy all expectations.

Bruce, who now plans to assess some of his fringe players during Tuesday's trip to Manchester United, said: "It's satisfaction, it's relief...to be safe with two games to go I didn't think would be possible at the start of the season.

"I honestly thought over the months we'd be in a relegation fight but if we're being totally honest we haven't really been involved at all, which is a testament to the players.

"It's just remarkable...to stay in the Premier League, get to the FA Cup final and get into Europe is one hell of an achievement for everyone concerned.

"It's been a fantastic journey and it's the icing on the cake for the club itself. The supporters must be thinking all their dreams have come true."

Bruce's opposite number at Old Trafford on Tuesday will be his former United team-mate Ryan Giggs.

Bruce was a senior figure and soon-to-be captain of the Red Devils when Giggs emerged as a precocious teenager and, two decades later, the Welshman finds himself picking the team following David Moyes' sacking.

"I spoke to Ryan 10 days ago to wish him good luck and welcome him to the crazy side of the game," said Bruce.

"I'm sure it's opened his eyes to what it's all about, but he's always going to be capable of doing whatever he wants to do. Whether he gets the job or not I don't know but it would never faze him, he's been at Manchester United all his life.

"Everybody says it's a big job and of course it is. But whether it's Ryan or Louis van Gaal it's always going to be a difficult job to follow (Sir Alex Ferguson), with what he achieved and he did."

Hull have never won at Old Trafford, but United's defeat to Sunderland at the weekend was their seventh on home turf in a troubled campaign.

That run has baffled Bruce, though he will not be complaining if his side can add to it.

"You can't sum it up, you try and analyse it and they've probably lost more games at Old Trafford than they have in the last 10 years.

"It's quite remarkable because it has been such a fortress for them."