City getting taste for big occasion

18 May 2014 07:31

Alex Bruce was understandably distraught after Hull's last-gasp 3-2 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal and has pledged to fight "hammer and tongs" to have more days like this next season.

It had looked like City's first ever appearance in a major final would be one to remember when they raced into an early lead through James Chester and Curtis Davies.

However, Arsene Wenger's side came back and forced extra time through Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny efforts, with Aaron Ramsey striking late on to end the Gunners' nine-year trophy drought.

Two of Arsenal's goals came after the in-form Bruce was forced off with a knock, meaning he could only helplessly watch on as the trophy slipped out of Hull's grasp.

"I am distraught," he said. "We went 2-0 up probably too early, to be honest. Unfortunately we couldn't hold on and it is massively disappointing.

"You think when you go two goals up 'come on, we've got a massive cushion here'.

"But if you sit off Arsenal, which we ultimately did - and there were a lot of tired legs - they have quality to hurt you bringing the lads they did off the bench.

"To come on and join the likes of Ramsey on the pitch was difficult for us and that was our undoing in the end."

While gutted to lose, Bruce and his team-mates know they can hold their heads high at the end of their first season back in the Premier League.

"A lot of the players in that dressing room were playing in the Championship last season so it shows how far we've come," he said.

"We've stayed in the Premier League, even though our place dropped a bit in the last couple of weeks probably because we had one eye on this game.

"We showed wonderful effort, we gave our all but unfortunately we were just pipped at the end.

"I am not sure (if Arsenal deserved it). I think on the whole maybe they had better chances, but for effort and endeavour I think we deserved something out of the game as well.

"It took for the second half of extra time score the winner and if you spoke to their lads they would say they had a tough game."

Steve Bruce's side may not have a trophy to parade around the city but Hull can look forward to welcoming European football for the first time.

With Arsenal qualifying for the Champions League, the Tigers take that place in the Europa League as FA Cup runners-up.

"The top players have occasions like this year in, year out," Bruce added. "You've always got to strive as a footballer to come to occasions like this.

"Once you have a taste you don't want it to end and we'll be going hammer and tongs next year to have more days like this.

"Hopefully the lads will get a bit of lady luck that you need sometimes at occasions like this."

Source: PA