Steve Bruce said all credit for the Tigers’ 1-0 victory against Norwich City on Saturday had to go to his players.
Robbie Brady’s 22nd-minute penalty won all three points, but the Tigers really had to dig deep after seeing Yannick Sagbo sent off just five minutes after the goal.
However, tactically the home side got it spot on to claim their first win since returning to the Barclays Premier League and Bruce said that was down to the way the players stuck to their shape.
“We did fantastically well to hang on and defend for our lives,” said Bruce.
“Our organisation and sheer will to win was pretty evident for everybody to see. Our goalkeeper made a couple of saves, but I don’t think Norwich were able to create the type of chance that they really wanted and obviously we’re delighted about that.
“All credit has to go to the players who stuck to their task and how we wanted to go about it. You can set them up and say ‘go out there and play like this’, but they have to have the legs to do it, the attitude to do it and that was there for everybody to see.
“Norwich never really carved us open and we were resolute and determined. We got promoted last season by being difficult to beat. We showed signs today that we can play when we’ve got the ball, but we must be very, very good without the ball. We can take enormous pride that that type of organisation has got us three points.”
On the two key decisions in the game, Bruce felt the sending off was justified, although he was less sure about the penalty awarded to his side.
“Looking at the penalty when it happened, it looked clumsy but I haven’t seen a replay yet,” added Bruce.
“You see them given and you see them not given. We got away with it and got the big decision our way.
“The other decision (the red card) I’ve got no complaints about. The boy (Sagbo) was silly and had a rush of blood and did something stupid. They’ve grappled with each other. He (Sagbo) hasn’t head-butted the lad, but he went through the action and when you’re ten yards away from the referee, you’re going to be red carded and rightly so.”