FA Cup final 2014: Hull backed by 'rest of the world' over Arsenal, claims Steve Bruce
The Tigers will contest the final for the first time in their 110-year history next Saturday
Wednesday 14 May 2014
Steve Bruce, the Hull City manager, has urged his players to relish their status as underdogs for the FA Cup final on Saturday and believes, Arsenal supporters aside, "the rest of the world" are willing his team to win.
Hull contest the final for the first time in their 110-year history against the North Londoners, who have lifted the trophy on 10 occasions, albeit not since 2005, when they last won silverware.
Bruce wants his players to draw inspiration from last year's final, in which relegated Wigan Athletic defeated Manchester City, who were runners-up in the Premier League that season.
"If you're not an Arsenal fan, I'm sure the rest of the world will be rooting for Hull," Bruce said. "We all saw what Wigan did last year. For me, it brings back a bit of the glamour. That's what the FA Cup is about. The mighty Arsenal facing the small club of Hull. That was my approach this year. I thought we're never going to win the league but we've got a chance to win the FA Cup."
Bruce won two FA Cup finals as a player for Manchester United but these are unchartered waters in his 16-year management career. He has implored his players to savour the experience. "The first one was over in a blur," said the 53-year-old. "Not many of them are married but I told the players it's a bit like your wedding day. Before you know it, you're married and before you know it, the FA Cup final's gone. That's what it was like for me. You've got to try to grasp the occasion and enjoy it. If you're not careful it just goes past you.
"The memories of the FA Cup are the ones you cherish when you've finished playing. I've experienced losing but more importantly I've experienced winning them."
Hull have not won since booking their place in the final. They lost four of their final five league games after beating Sheffield United in the semi-finals last month.
Bruce said he has noticed a difference in his players in training this week. "For the first time in a month, I can see a spring in their step," he said. "They're enjoying training like they should be. For four weeks, all they've thought about is the FA Cup final."
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