Hull City 5 Sheffield United 3: Steve Bruce puts pressure on Arsenal as Tigers book first ever FA Cup final appearance
Hull will return to Wembley for their first FA Cup final but Bruce says the pressure is on their opponents to end their trophy drought
Monday 14 April 2014
Hull will return to Wembley next month for the first FA Cup final in the club's 110-year history - an occasion manager Steve Bruce says his players can enjoy with the pressure off.
The Tigers edged an enthralling all-Yorkshire semi-final on Sunday, twice coming from behind before running out 5-3 victors against Sheffield United.
The League One outfit certainly played their part and went in at half-time 2-1 ahead, only to be undone by City's injection of top-flight quality at the break.
Matty Fryatt, Tom Huddlestone, Stephen Quinn and David Meyler all netted in a much-improved second-half display by the Tigers, setting up a return to Wembley on May 17 when Hull will take on the role of underdog against Arsenal.
"If you had said 10 years ago that Hull will play Arsenal in the FA Cup final, people would have been scratching their heads," Bruce said. "It just shows you what can be done.
"I've been in the competition 15 years and never been anywhere near. I've had good fortune being involved in FA Cups and today was a proper FA Cup tie. We don't see games like that very often at Wembley.
"A bit like last year when it was Wigan versus Man City, Hull play Arsenal. All the pressure will be on Arsenal because they haven't won anything in eight years.
"We've still got five weeks to go. We will enjoy it, we will enjoy the occasion and gain from the experience of today."
That experience was certainly a nerve-wracking one for Hull fans, especially during what Bruce admits was an "awful" first-half.
Jose Baxter gave the Blades a deserved 19th-minute lead and, moments after Yannick Sagbo had levelled, Stefan Scougall ensured the third-tier side went into the break ahead.
Jamie Murphy netted United's other goal and made it 4-3 in the final minute, although Meyler's stoppage-time strike put the game out of sight for Hull.
It may not have been their day in the end but Nigel Clough's side were given a standing ovation after a display that belied their lowly standings.
"I am both proud and devastated at the moment," United boss Clough said.
"I am certainly proud, I think that feeling will grow in the weeks ahead when we look back on what we've achieved in the FA Cup and very nearly today as well.
"We were close to making history as the first third-tier side to get to an FA Cup final and at half-time I thought we were well worthy of our lead.
"We played well in the first half and they changed it in the second half.
"Their second goal just after half-time was the killer blow for us, it got them totally going. They were rejuvenated and scored another one pretty quickly."
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