sport

Clough: We must build on run

Nigel Clough wants to ensure Sheffield Utd use their memorable FA Cup run as a springboard for success in League One next season.

The Blades boss said his players did themselves and the club proud in Sunday's epic semi-final against Hull at Wembley when a 5-3 defeat halted a giant-killing run that had taken in victories against Aston Villa, Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Charlton.

"We said the result wouldn't take away from what has been a remarkable run, now we want to finish the season strongly and take this momentum into next season," Clough said.

"We have given our supporters something to shout about and it is amazing to think we have just pushed top-flight opposition all the way at Wembley, given where we were a few months ago."

The Blades slipped to second-bottom in the table following a 3-0 defeat at Crewe in February, but nine wins from 14 league games since have lifted them up to 11th.

Jose Baxter and Stefan Scougall twice gave Clough's side the lead against Hull and a 2-1 half-time advantage.

But the Barclays Premier League side struck three times in the space of 18 second-half minutes to seize control and although Jamie Murphy's last-minute goal gave the Blades brief hope, David Meyler sealed the Tigers' win in stoppage-time.

"The lads left nothing in the dressing room and that was what we have said all week," Clough added.

"We wanted to do ourselves justice and despite the defeat we put in a performance to be proud of.

"We have come to Wembley in an FA Cup semi-final against Premier League opposition, took the lead twice, scored three goals and pushed them all the way.

"If we had defended a little bit better at key moments who knows what might have happened, but this cup run has been tremendous for everyone connected to the club.

"We have matched a very good Premier League side for long periods in an FA Cup semi-final and that pleases me."