The East Yorkshire club could only draw 0-0 with already relegated Bristol City at the KC Stadium in what was a dull encounter where chances were hard to come by. Hull lacked the fluidity often seen from them this season and looked a shadow of the side who had forced their way into the top two off the back of such impressive home form.
Bruce had no qualms about the result which sees City move eight points clear of second-placed Watford who have three games left to catch up on the Tigers. "It was a bit of nerves, edginess. We were desperately trying too hard to do too well and getting wrapped up in the whole thing," he said.
"It's what it is, the expectation got the better of us - we forgot how to play the game unfortunately. We knew it was a big, important game for us all. One thing we have done over past three months is handle the occasion, that's the disappointing thing.
"No matter what we tried to do, we didn't do enough. The reason why we have got where we have got to is because we get it down and play with a freedom."
Bruce acknowledged the performance of the visitors, whose place at the foot of the table is assured after a disastrous run which has seen them lose five of the last six heading into this clash.
"It's typical of the English mentality - they made it difficult for us," Bruce added. "To be fair they didn't have to do much, we were far far too lax with possession. We didn't get much quality into the box which has been our trademark all season."
Bristol City have the worst away record in the division and boss Sean O'Driscoll was pleased with his side's ability to nullify the Hull threat.
"They are a good, fluid, footballing team that play in a way that give teams problems," O'Driscoll said.
"They play almost a six-man midfield, we tried to counter that and almost tried to give them problems in a sense of stop them going fluid and it worked really well. To restrict a team who looked destined to the Premier Division to just one shot, you have got to give us a bit of credit for that."
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