Hull City ended their recent poor run of form with a vital 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
The result means that the Tigers have climbed out of the bottom three, a huge relief for Steve Bruce and a platform to build their desperate fight for Premier League survival.
Prior to the game Steve Bruce labelled this game as one of the most significant during his reign as manager. He said: “It’s arguably one of the biggest games I’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Villa look doomed
In truth the Hull manager could not have handpicked a better opponent, considering the current predicament that his side was in. The manager gave a first start to big January signing Dame N’Doye and the former Lokomotiv Moscow didn't disappoint, providing an assist for Croatian Nikica Jelavic before going on to score himself.
After being unfortunate against the Premier League Champions, Manchester City, when James Milner struck a stoppage time free kick to deny them a famous victory against the Citizens, Hull did not have to play well to win against what is a poor Villa side.
Lambert pays the price
They did just enough to claim all three points as Villa dominated in possession and territory as Hull soaked up pressure, content enough to attack the Birmingham club only by launching counter attacks.
Hull fans cruelly sang ‘sacked in the morning’ in the direction of former Villa manager Paul Lambert after going 2-0 ahead, but their own manager will be mightily relieved to have escaped the bottom three.
Bruce hails psychological importance of Hull's win
Bruce spoke of the result’s importance after the game.
“You can see the significance of it.”
“We've gone above Aston Villa and, psychologically, to come out of the bottom three was key.”
They have another proverbial ‘relegation six pointer’ next in the Premier League when they face Queens’ Park Rangers a week on Saturday.
Whilst it may be too early to say that the Tigers are safe if they win that match, it would be a huge step towards preserving their Premier League status for another season.