Daily Express

Bruce defends his rival


HULL manager Steve Bruce has described the continued criticism of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as “appalling”.

Bruce, above, will cross swords with the Frenchman in the FA Cup for the fourth time in three seasons at the KC Stadium tonight.

Wenger last won the Premier League in 2004 and it has been speculated that he could leave the club if Arsenal fail to overcome Bruce’s side.

“From inside the game you’re not going to hear people criticisin­g him because when you’re in management as long as he has been and what he has achieved, who is anyone to criticise him?” said Bruce .

“I fi nd it appalling that they can. He has helped build a fantastic club, he has helped fi nance it by selling players, he has never been able to really compete at the top level like others at a top club have, but he has kept them in the top four for 17 or 18 years.

“So for me he would only get one thing and that is respect.”

Bruce, whose side lost 3- 2 to Arsenal in the 2014 fi nal and were beaten 2- 0 at the Emirates in the third round last season, feels Wenger is one of English football’s best- ever managers.

“He has to be great to manage a club like Arsenal for 20- odd years.

“I don’t know why we’re questionin­g him. He has been one of the great managers that this country has seen.”

Bruce will continue to prioritise the Championsh­ip as the Tigers are currently third in the table, four points behind leaders Burnley.

He made 10 changes to his side for the initial tie last month and confi rmed he will rotate his squad again tonight.

The winners are home to Watford in the quarter- fi nals.

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