Brown hails players

Hull boss Phil Brown hailed the response of his players after reviving their hopes of beating relegation at Bolton today.

Hull boss Phil Brown hailed the response of his players after reviving their hopes of beating relegation at Bolton today.

The Tigers travelled to the Reebok Stadium sitting in the bottom three of the Premier League after a demoralising loss to Stoke last week.

Newcastle’s rousing win over Middlesbrough five days ago made Hull favourites for the drop but a slip by the Magpies this afternoon allowed Brown’s men a route out of the relegation zone.

It was a chance they took as Craig Fagan cancelled out a Gretar Steinsson strike in a 1-1 draw but Hull did miss a number of opportunities to win the game.

Hull are still far from safe with a visit from champions Manchester United to come in their final game but Brown is pleased their fate is in their own hands.

Brown said: “We were dumped in the bottom three in no uncertain terms by Newcastle United.

“We had to respond and like true professionals they responded and I was quite proud of the performance today.

“I don’t think we deservedly got a point out of it, I think we probably should have had three. It was a well fought out scrap.

“It slipped out of our hands and that is not a nice feeling. It is now back in our hands, albeit having to win against the champions.”

With United having secured the title, there have been suggestions Sir Alex Ferguson may field an under-strength team as he prepares for the Champions League final.

Brown admits that is a possibility but he is still taking nothing for granted.

He said: “There will be suggestions of weakened sides coming our way but as we have seen today, nobody does you any favours in the Premier League.

“We could quite easily name two or three teams Sir Alex could put out. That is the ability of that football club.”

Hull striker Manucho had four good chances in the first half while Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was outstanding after the break.

Jaaskelainen brilliantly parried a Daniel Cousin header onto the bar and also kept out a firm Fagan effort.

Brown, a former Bolton captain and assistant manager, added: “Special mention to my two mates on the Bolton team.

“Everyone was levelling suggestions of some kind of favours at me before the game but the best players on the park, outside the Hull players, were Jussi Jaaskelainen and Kevin Davies.

“He’s been there all season, Jussi Jaaskelainen, and probably cost us five points with sterling performances at the KC and the Reebok.”

Bolton’s safety had seemed in little doubt before the game but the point made certain Gary Megson’s side will be playing in the top flight next season.

Megson was still disappointed with the performance and feels his team have eased up prematurely before the end of the season.

Megson said: “I am happy we are now mathematically safe and we are in this division, it has been a while coming.

“The performance today was better than in the previous two or three but nothing like what we have shown in the previous 31 or 32.

“I think with the fact we have had that cushion between ourselves and the bottom three we have taken our foot off the gas.

“We are not a team that can play without our foot being on the gas.

“We just look a yard slower than where we were a month ago but I think the work Hull have done today and the intensity they have played at, we were doing that against West Ham and Newcastle 10 or 11 weeks ago.”

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