Bruce bemoans Europa exit

Steve Bruce felt his Hull side made 'far too many mistakes' against Lokeren

Steve Bruce felt his Hull side made 'far too many mistakes' against Lokeren

First published in National Sport © by

Steve Bruce lamented Hull's early exit from their first ever European campaign after being ousted by KSC Lokeren on away goals at the Europa League play-off stage.

For a club who had so relished the chance to taste continental competition and all it had to offer there is something oddly fitting in their departure on a technicality that has defined European football for so long.

The seeds of the Tigers' disappointment were sowed in Belgium last week, when Allan McGregor's error handed the hosts a 1-0 win.

Hull were at least victorious at the KC Stadium, Robbie Brady's first goals in almost a year enough for a 2-1 win but it was Jordan Remacle's strike that proved decisive.

"That's European football...we've experienced it and what it's all about, the frustrations, the disappointments, the away goal rule...," said a rueful Bruce.

"To go out the way we did is the worst, away goals, but that's the competition. That's what playing in Europe is like.

"It's a totally different ball game and we didn't get to grips with it.

"To have had a big couple of European nights would have been terrific so it's a shame. It would have been a great adventure for everyone concerned.

"We've won the match and gone out on the rule but if we're being honest we didn't play to the levels I expect.

"We made far too many mistakes, we gave the ball away far too cheaply in really good areas and four or five didn't get to the level you would expect. That's the disappointing thing for me, even though we won the game.

"It's gone too quick for everyone but it's not to be so we move on."

Part of the moving on phase involves completing the transfer business Bruce had set in motion with half an eye on a gruelling group campaign.

Uruguay striker Abel Hernandez is close to coming in on a club record deal from Palermo.

The player has passed a medical and agreed terms, and a work permit hearing on Friday should determine if the deal can go ahead.

"Things are advancing quickly, we have to get work permits and bits and pieces done but we're trying hard," said Bruce.

"The medical is okay, and personal terms, we just have to get through the red tape.

"There's still one or two issues to be ironed out. We'll see how we get on."

Lokeren boss Peter Maes was pleased with his side's combative performance over the two legs with the bonus of a scalp from English football on the way to the group stage.

"Before we began this match we knew we were a team who go for the fight, have a lot of confidence," said Maes.

"After going 2-1 down you still saw my team going again for a second goal. If we can do this to a team from the Premier League that makes me incredibly proud."

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