Steve Bruce admitted his Hull City side was beaten by the better team at Cardiff on Saturday, but felt the outcome could have been very different had Jay Simpson’s strike just before half time been allowed to stand.
Simpson looked to have sent the Tigers in level at the break when converting from close range, only for the effort to be ruled out on the word of the assistant referee. It was a decision that left most in the ground baffled, and left Bruce frustrated after watching his team go on to lose 2-1 in South Wales.
“The better team won if I’m being honest,” said Bruce.
“It’s an intimidating place to go to and we got off to a horrible start. They’ve got wonderful deliveries from set-pieces, especially from Whittingham, and we found it difficult for 30 minutes.
“Then we got back into the game and for me the big turning point was, if we’d gone in at one-each at half time without really playing well, it might have been a different story.
“The linesman gave a decision of handball (against Simpson), which it wasn’t. He’s given it from 60 or 70 yards away when the referee was only 20 yards away and it was a baffling one. It might not have changed the outcome, but Jay controlled the ball with his stomach.
“Overall, though, the better team won and I’m not going to kid myself. It was our third game in a week and I toyed with changing things around, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. When I look at us, our worst performances are in the third game (of the week) and we’ll learn from it and I’ll learn for next time.”
City fell behind to a Heidar Helguson goal after just three minutes and the home side had chances to increase their lead before a second goal finally arrived on 82 minutes as the Bluebirds maintained their 100 per cent home record this season. A wonderful strike from Robert Koren in the final minute offered some hope and consolation, but there wasn’t enough time left to find a leveller.
“Unfortunately for Ben (Amos), he made the wrong decision (for the first goal),” added Bruce.
“He hasn’t seen their lad and he’s tried to take the ball around his stomach, but Helguson was brave and put his head in there. We shouldn’t be going one down to a cross because it’s too straight-forward.
“We were awful (at the start) and down after two or three minutes. It took us 30 minutes to get into the game and by that time, Cardiff could have been out of sight. We stuck at it and got a wonder goal from Robert Koren at the end, one of the goals of the season, but if we’re honest we didn’t deserve anything (from the game).”