September 25, 2014

Hull City manager Steve Bruce has expressed his concern about his side's tendency to concede late goals as he prepares for Saturday's match against defending Premier League champions Manchester City at the KC Stadium.

The Tigers (1-3-1) have recorded back-to-back draws in league play after leading in both matches. They drew 2-2 at home to West Ham on Sept. 15 after twice taking the lead and last weekend were pegged back to 2-2 at Newcastle after letting slip a two-goal advantage.

Bruce's side also surrendered points when they drew 1-1 at home with Stoke City on Aug. 24 when the visitors scored an 87th-minute equaliser.

Hull's inability to hold onto a lead was highlighted again, Wednesday when they lost 3-2 at West Bromwich Albion in a League Cup match despite being 2-1 ahead with just three minutes to go. Tom Ince and Robbie Brady had both tallied to take Hull to the brink of victory.

Bruce was an angry man after the demoralising defeat at The Hawthorns.

"Unfortunately it has happened to us a few times this season and it is so unlike us," Bruce told the team's official website. "If it happens once, you say 'ok' and move on. For it to happen three or four times in six weeks is annoying to say the least.

"It's disappointing as well because I do believe that we're very, very close to being a very, very good team. It could have been a wonderful start to the season, but instead it's just an average start and now we've been knocked out of the cup which is totally disappointing."

Last season, Hull squandered leads on just five occasions in league play and still came away with draws in four of them.

Manchester City (2-2-1) started the defence of their title brightly with two straight wins but have taken only two points from their last three league outings and those came from high-profile matches against Arsenal (2-2 in north London) and Chelsea (1-1 at the Etihad).

However, Manuel Pellegrini's side warmed up for the visit to Hull with a 7-0 home win over 10-man Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup on Wednesday. City won the competition last season by beating Sunderland 3-1 in the final at Wembley in March.

The Citizens hit all seven goals in a second-half scoring spree against Championship side Wednesday, with Frank Lampard (2), Edin Dzeko (2), Jesus Navas, Jose Angel Pozo and Yaya Toure all finding the back of the net.

A bonus for Pellegrini has been the immediate impact of on-loan ex-England midfielder Lampard, who also scored the equaliser against his former club Chelsea last Sunday. Lampard signed for new Major League Soccer franchise New York City after leaving Stamford Bridge before agreeing a short-term loan move back to the Premier League with City.

"Frank is a very important player and he proved that again tonight," Pellegrini told his club's official website after the Sheffield Wednesday match. "I would rather have selection problems because I have too many good players than not enough so I hope he continues to play as well.

"He showed how important he can be for us against Chelsea and he did the same again tonight. He is 36 now and maybe he can't play three games in a week anymore but he knows how to play football and he is a top player."

Manchester City took maximum points from Hull last season. They won 2-0 at the Etihad with goals from Alvaro Negredo and Toure and secured a 2-0 victory in east Yorkshire with goals from David Silva and Dzeko.

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