sport

Bruce wary of Europa perils

Steve Bruce believes qualification for the Europa League is a mixed blessing for Hull City.

Bruce's Tigers will make their European bow regardless of what happens in their FA Cup final against Arsenal, courtesy of the Gunners' top-four placing.

However, should Hull triumph at Wembley next week they would enter the Europa League at the group stages while defeat would condemn them to the early qualifying rounds.

"We're in Europe, which is fantastic. I'm sure the fans are looking forward to it," said Bruce.

"We have to look at it that way and then we have to realise, when we start planning, that the ramifications of it are huge.

"There's a huge complication with Europe. However, let's not derail it before we get into it... when the draw comes out in mid-July, then to see our name in amongst it will be fantastic.

"That's when it will grab hold of people. We're in with the Tottenhams and Evertons from our country and some big clubs from others. You only have to look at the teams (Sevilla and Benfica) in the Europa League final which is coming. Big clubs with huge traditions and histories. To be part of it, great."

Bruce has made no secret of the fact that he feels certain players have taken their eyes off the ball in the league since securing their place at the Wembley showpiece on 17 May.

"The reason we've tailed off recently is the FA Cup and when you're going to be playing Saturday, Thursday, Sunday, it is very difficult," Bruce said.

"You know what it's like if you go on holiday: Airports, late flights, getting back in the middle of the night... it's never easy. We understand how difficult it is but we can't be frightened of it.

"Some clubs have done extremely well, but if you're one of the smaller teams in Europe and you get a bigger team, they have a huge advantage."