AHMED ELMOHAMADY admits Hull City “need that bit of help” in the January transfer window if the club are to overcome the burden of history and win their fight for Premier League survival.
The Tigers will spend Christmas propping up the top flight, a position that invariably leads to relegation come the end of the season.
Just three clubs, in fact, have stayed up after heading into the festive season sitting rock bottom of the table since the advent of the Premier League in 1992.
Despite the portents for the East Riding outfit, Elmohamady still believes Hull can get out of trouble and points to the upcoming transfer window as the potential catalyst.
“We do need some signings in January,” said the Egyptian winger when talking to The Yorkshire Post.
“Fresh bodies always help. The gaffer will do his best to get us some good players to stay in the Premier League.
“We need that bit of help now. When the team is in this position, you need fresh bodies to give you something extra. Hopefully, we can get the right people and go on to stay up.”
Hull’s performances, if not results, in their last three games have offered hope to those who believe Mike Phelan’s men can ape West Bromwich Albion (2004-05), Sunderland (2013-14) and Leicester City (2014-15) in pulling off a great escape after being bottom at Christmas.
Against Crystal Palace at the KCOM Stadium on December 10, the Tigers netted three times in a top-flight fixture for the first time since February, 2014 but were denied a much-needed victory by an 89th-minute strike by Fraizer Campbell.
Similarly, attack-minded performances followed in back-to-back trips to Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United, but an inability to convert chances when on top proved costly.
At White Hart Lane, Hull fell behind early on but had three excellent chances to equalise either side of half-time. None were taken and Spurs went on to claim a 3-0 victory.
Defeat at the London Stadium last Saturday was even more galling for Hull, who hit the woodwork three times before the Hammers went ahead 15 minutes from time through a controversial penalty from Mark Noble.
Such was the hosts’ unwitting reliance on the upright that it later won ‘man of the match’ in a poll on the London club’s official website.
Few in the Hull camp were laughing at the vote, knowing that defeat, together with Sunderland’s home win over Watford, meant the Yorkshire club would need to follow the lead of West Brom, Sunderland and Leicester in bringing about a stunning turnaround in fortunes.
Bryan Robson’s Baggies, for instance, had just 10 points at this stage 12 years ago, while Sunderland needed a run of four straight victories – including triumphs at Manchester City and Chelsea – to get out of trouble in the Spring of 2014.
Leicester’s upturn in form was even more dramatic, seven of the final nine games being won by Nigel Pearson’s side en route to safety.
Whether Hull are capable of such a run remains to be seen, though any hopes of remaining among the elite will depend on how well the club fares in the January transfer window with a striker top of Phelan’s shopping list.
“It is getting harder to stay in the Premier League,” said Elmohamady, who moved to England in 2010. “I have played here a few years and the top teams are always tough. Especially away from home but at home, too.
“That is why when we get chances to score, we have to take them. We simply have to. It is always disappointing to concede and there are defensive things we have to look at, but we have to score as well.
“I do believe that the performances have got better. Palace in our last home game was very good and we should have won. We have also played well away from home.
“Look at Spurs, they are one of the best teams in the country, but we played well. The first 15 to 20 minutes of the second half, we played very well and should have scored. But we didn’t. Against the big teams, if you get one chance you have to score.
“This is the big league and we have to take our chances. If we do that, we have a chance to stay in the Premier League.”
Hull’s recruitment in the summer was, of course, beset by problems. It took until the penultimate day of the window for the Tigers to make their first signing and although six were made in total, this rushed finale has been exposed by injuries and suspensions.
Phelan is determined to avoid a repeat once the January window opens and he believes Hull’s recent performances may help the club get their work done early.
“We have to advertise ourselves to players with the grit, determination and courage to battle it out and who want to put their reputations on the line,” he added. “There are players who will do that.”