LONDON (Reuters) - Hull City have suffered from second season syndrome in the Premier League but manager Steve Bruce believes his relegation-threatened side can conjure up one last twist in the battle to avoid the drop.
Hull finished 16th last year following promotion from the Championship and they also reached the FA Cup final where they lost in extra-time to Arsenal.
Bruce’s side have lacked consistency this season, however, and last weekend’s 1-0 defeat by relegated Burnley means 18th-placed Hull are two points behind Newcastle United and Sunderland with two games remaining.
Hull play Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday and could go into their final game against Manchester United already relegated if they lose to Spurs and results elsewhere go against them.
“It’s the second season syndrome,” Bruce told a news conference on Friday.
”This year there’s been a sense of expectation and that sense of expectation, if we’re being perfectly honest, we haven’t been able to live up to.
”Let’s hope we can take it to the final game. That’s our objective now. We need to get a result at Tottenham to keep it alive.
“We need seven or eight players to be at the top of their form. Can we come out fighting? If we get beat we get beat with our boots on and if that’s not enough we have to accept the consequences.”
Hull recorded back-to-back league victories over Crystal Palace and Liverpool in April to ease their relegation fears but defeats by Arsenal and Burnley have put them back in danger.
“We sincerely hope there is going to be one last twist. It’s our job to get a result to give us a chance and it’s up to us to produce a performance we know we are capable of,” Bruce said.
“We’ve got a team that is capable as we’ve seen a couple of weeks ago when we got a fabulous result against Liverpool. We’ve still got that same nucleus so let’s hope we can go and get another result. We’ve got enough to be able to do that.”
Reporting by Michael Hann, editing by Ed Osmond