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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
Bruce relieved by Blues promotion
Birmingham manager Steve Bruce
Bruce has been in charge at St Andrews since December 2001
Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce believes he has restored his reputation as a manager after steering the club back into the Premiership.

Bruce contemplated quitting after the Blues were relegated last season.

"It's fantastic to go back up but this has been my hardest and most difficult season in management," he admitted.

"Being relegated is horrible and you must get the faith back of the fans and the people who employ you. I had to try to restore a bit of my reputation."

There was an enormous expectation that we should get back into the Premiership

Steve Bruce

Bruce revamped the Birmingham squad in the summer and after a mixed start to the season, fans called for his sacking after a 1-0 home defeat by Norwich on 17 October.

He added: "We've hardly been out of the top six, been top of the table eight times and yet we seem to have been in crisis.

"There have been a load of fans who wanted me through the door and only a few weeks ago the fans were chanting 'you don't know what you are doing' during one game.

"But now they might look at the bigger picture and think 'he hasn't done a bad job again'."

The former Manchester United captain also paid tribute to the young players that have guided Birmingham back into the top flight.

"To try to rebuild the squad quickly, with essentially young players sprinkled with a little bit of experience, was a tough call." he said.

"The expectations were enormous. Before I came here the club had not been in the Premier League for many years but after four seasons in there, there is an expectation that we should be back there.

"We had to do it with young players who had not had the expectation on their shoulders at clubs like Luton, Cardiff and Colchester but they have handled it in the right way."

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