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Bruce takes pressure off Hull


 Cup cracker: Tom Huddlestone celebrates his goal yesterday

Cup cracker: Tom Huddlestone celebrates his goal yesterday


Cup cracker: Tom Huddlestone celebrates his goal yesterday

No sooner had Hull secured a place in their first ever FA Cup final that manager Steve Bruce began the mind games, insisting "all the pressure" will be on Arsenal when they return to Wembley next month.

A decade on from playing in the fourth-tier of English football, the Tigers secured their first major cup final appearance with a thrilling 5-3 defeat of Yorkshire neighbours Sheffield United.

The League One outfit certainly played their part in yesterday's semi-final 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.

"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 too 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.

That experience was certainly a nerve-wracking one for Hull fans.

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 in to the break ahead.

Bruce's decision to bring on Fryatt and Sone Aluko for the second-half quickly paid dividends as City got back into it through an exquisite goal from Huddlestone before Quinn headed home.

Jamie Murphy set up a tense finale, but Meyler rounded off the tie.

Few would have been able to tell City were the Premier League outfit as the Blades ran riot in the first half, giving their raucous travelling support genuine hope.

"I am both proud and devastated," United boss Clough said. "We can look back on this with pride."

Belfast Telegraph