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.
The Tigers 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. Only Cardiff have won more matches on their own patch this season, but a lack of cutting edge was a major problem.
Bruce had no qualms about the result which sees City seven points clear of second-placed Watford, who have three games left to catch up Hull.
And the boss believes the pressure of the occasion got to his side.
"It was a bit of nerves, edginess," he said. "We were desperately trying too hard to do to well and getting wrapped up in the whole thing.
"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 is 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 the 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."