Hull City manager Phil Brown believes his side may have reached a 'turning point' after the 1-1 draw with Premier League table toppers Chelsea at the KC Stadium.
The Tigers frustrated Carlo Ancelotti's visitors as Didier Drogba was forced to cancel out Steven Mouyokolo's opener to earn the Blues a disappointing, hard-fought point in what was their game in hand over title rivals Manchester United and Arsenal.
Hull are contrastingly fighting a relegation battle and, despite climbing one place as a result of the draw, remain inside the drop zone after a disappointing campaign which had threatened to cost Brown his job prior to Christmas.
The ex-Derby boss recently saw his current side lose 3-1 and 4-0 to United in the space of a month having played well against the champions but he thinks there was evidence against Chelsea that suggests performances are now being rewarded.
Brown, who also guided Hull to a 2-2 draw with Wolves at the weekend, told Sky Sports: "The Premier League is un-relentless or un-merciful, it just doesn't give you anything. You have to graft for everything.
Best foot forward
"I thought Saturday was a big point because everyone expected us to win, nobody gave us a chance tonight.
"Consequently, we seem to put our best foot forward against the top sides and yet get nothing from the game.
"But tonight was a little bit of a turning point. We have got something from the game and deserved to get something from the game, if not three."
Brown was also full of praise for Tom Cairney after the 19-year-old midfielder impressed against Chelsea, despite coming in for some alleged rough treatment from Ancelotti's side.
The Hull boss said: "He looks a talent. It will be a slow progression, it won't automatically come.
"People might get wind of it and start identifying it. I thought Chelsea did towards the end and started leaving their foot in one or two tackles, shall we say, and saying, 'welcome to the Premier League'.
"But Tom got on with it and actually dealt with it very cleverly and it looks like he has got a bright future."
Brown was also pleased that Hull resisted the temptation to sell Stephen Hunt, who was excellent against Chelsea, to Wolves after resisting numerous bids in the transfer window and a final £5million offer on deadline day.
He said: "It was a statement of intent by the chairman, the owners of the football club.
"I've got to be ecstatic that I didn't lose my best players on deadline day, which has happened to me before."