Hull City boss Steve Bruce downcast after Europa League bounce
Hull City's name will be absent from Friday's Europa League group stage draw after the away goals rule ended their first foray in the competition prematurely.
The Tigers defeated Belgian side KSC Lokeren 2-1 in their playoff second leg at the KC Stadium, Robbie Brady scoring both goals, but bowed out of their playoff tie on away goals after losing the first leg 1-0.
Jordan Remacle's goal, which cancelled out Brady's opener, proved decisive on the night as Hull failed to claim a third having lost Yannick Sagbo to a red card in the 72nd minute.
Manager Steve Bruce, who had made six changes from the side which drew against Stoke on Sunday, was disappointed at not delivering fans the "great adventure" of an extended continental campaign.
"That's European football...we've experienced it and what it's all about, the frustrations, the disappointments, the away goal rule," said a dejected Bruce. "To go out the way we did is the worst, away goals, but that's the competition. That's what playing in Europe is like.
"It's a totally different ball game and we didn't get to grips with it. To have had a big couple of European nights would have been terrific so it's a shame. It's gone too quick for everyone but it's not to be so we move on."
Bruce was unimpressed with the decision to send off Sagbo but laid the blame for defeat primarily at his players' door.
"I've seen the red card five times and he doesn't go over the ball, he stays on his feet. It's a harsh decision," he said.
"But if we're being honest we didn't play to the levels I expect. We made far too many mistakes, we gave the ball away far too cheaply in really good areas and four or five didn't get to the level you would expect. That's the disappointing thing for me, even though we won the game."
Bruce has been busy in the transfer market this summer, partly in anticipation of the six additional games the Europa League group stage entails.
His latest signing, Michael Dawson, was introduced to fans at half-time against Lokeren and, despite the disappointment of the final result, Uruguay striker Abel Hernandez may not be too far behind.
Hull are awaiting a work permit hearing for the Palermo player, lined up as Shane Long's replacement after Blackburn rebuffed interest in Jordan Rhodes, and could have news before their game at Aston Villa on Sunday.
"Things are advancing quickly, we have to get work permits and bits and pieces done but we're trying hard," said Bruce.
"The medical is okay, and personal terms, we just have to get through the red tape.
"There's still one or two issues to be ironed out. We'll see how we get on."