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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Wenger criticism baffles Bruce

Hull City manager Steve Bruce says he is "baffled" by the criticism suffered by Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger this season.

Last Updated: 19/04/14 at 11:17 Post Comment

Steve Bruce's Hull will face Arsenal twice before the end of the season

Steve Bruce's Hull will face Arsenal twice before the end of the season

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Bruce's side face Arsenal in two important fixtures before the end of the season, with the Gunners needing victory in Sunday's league clash to maintain their edge over Everton in the race for fourth before the two meet again in next month's FA Cup final.

Should Wenger's side miss out on a place in the Champions League next year and extend their trophy drought into a ninth year, it would increase the pressure on the Frenchman.

However, Bruce has defended the 64-year-old, pointing to the job he has done at the north-London club during his 17-year reign.

"Just when they needed a big couple of results they got them (the penalty shoot-out win over Wigan in the FA Cup semi-final and the 3-1 home win against West Ham in the league)," said Bruce. "You give great credit to the manager.

"It doesn't matter how they got them, they might not have played the 'Arsenal way' against Wigan last week or against West Ham but they've turned it around and won back-to-back games when they've needed to.

"Just when they needed a couple of results they've got them and how often has Mr Wenger done that?

"For me, the manager gets unfair criticism. The guy has done an amazing job for the last 17 years... 16 of those in the top four is a remarkable achievement considering he hasn't had the funds all the other big clubs have had.

"He's not everybody's cup of tea but the one thing you must say is his teams play a fantastic way and he's proved to be one of the greats as far as I'm concerned.

"He's not had the spending power of the big, huge clubs in Europe but he's always been competing - semi-finals, finals, the final of the Champions League.

"With his record how we're even questioning him baffles me."

Despite Hull's first appearance in an FA Cup final just a few weeks away, Bruce remains focused on securing mathematical safety for his side, who are six points above the relegation zone with four games to play.

However, he is sympathetic to fans hoping to get tickets for the game at Wembley, with both clubs having being allocated 25,000 tickets for the 90,000-capacity venue.

"There was nearly 60,000 Arsenal fans for the Wigan semi-final, so to give them 25,000 is not quite right," he added.

"Where's the other 40,000 gone? It's another issue we have to face with the FA Cup.

"I was trying to say this to supporters here who were hedging their bets trying to get a ticket for the final - it's more difficult than trying to get one for the semi.

"It's an argument that always rages on - is there too many for the FA Council, the FA and all the rest of it. But it's their comp and they make the rules."

Watch Hull take on Arsenal in their FA Cup final rehearsal this Sunday from 2.00pm live on Sky Sports 2

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