Hull City manager Steve Bruce has insisted that his team can overcome their one-goal deficit against KSC Lokeren in the Europa League, reports The
The Tigers went down 1-0 in Belgium last night in the first leg of their Europa League play-off tie. Hull had largely dominated proceedings, but a glaring error by goalkeeper Allan McGregor was punished by the home side.
The Scotland number 1 passed straight to Hans Vanaken, who rounded the embarrassed goalkeeper and slotted in the winner.
Having seen his team waste a number of chances before McGregor’s decisive slip, Bruce recognised that Hull had received something of a lesson in the unforgiving nature of European competition.
“Concentration levels are paramount and we’ve made a mistake which cost us. We had three of four wonderful opportunities to score late on but unfortunately missed them,” said the Tigers boss. “If you make a mistake like that, at this level, it’s an awful way to lose a match. McGregor was a hero on Saturday when he saved a penalty but he’s made a mistake which has cost us.”
However, Bruce remains confident that with only one goal to chase down, Hull can still achieve their dream of reaching the group stages in their first ever tilt at the Europa League. Lokeren travel to the KC Stadium next week with a vital lead to defend, and Bruce recognised that his team’s failure to find the net in Belgium leaves them with an extremely difficult task.
“It will be difficult because we haven’t got an away goal. But we’ve got to try and win the game, it’s as simple as that,” said Bruce. “It will be a different game in a week’s time and we have to win it. This was never going to be a breeze, that’s disrespectful, no game in Europe is a breeze. It’s up to us to turn it around now and make sure we get to the next stage.”
Acknowledging the special nature of games in Europe, and the part the Hull fans can play in the home leg, Bruce continued: “They are great nights if you win. It will be a full house again and we have to win the match. We are capable of doing that.”
Hull return to domestic competition on Sunday with a home game against Mark Hughes’ Stoke City, a match fans can watch for just £16 thanks to a special agreement between the clubs.
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