Hull City v Liverpool: Marco Silva's Hull winning fans over as they bid for Reds scalp

Hull City manager Marco Silva during the Emirates FA Cup, Fourth Round match at Craven Cottage, London.
Hull City manager Marco Silva during the Emirates FA Cup, Fourth Round match at Craven Cottage, London.
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WHEN it comes to gaining early acceptance from supporters, chants of your name being sung out at your home ground is always a good start for any new manager.

An even bigger acclamation is the sight of a sold-out stadium, which will greet Marco Silva when he makes his way to the dug-out this afternoon.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.

The allure of Liverpool being in town may always be considerable, but the recent uplifting form of Hull City in helping to entice some of those of an amber-and-black persuasion who have previously renegaded into scrambling for tickets should not be downplayed 
either.

Cries of ‘Marco, give us a wave’ were given an airing in the recent home wins over Manchester United and Bournemouth, played out to a stadium that was barely two-thirds full.

If they reverberate around the KCOM Stadium today, they will do so in a packed arena.

Silva has certainly played his part in the sold-out signs going up, by virtue of his side’s punchy performances under his watch so far.

Where a home game with Liverpool would have been met with trepidation a month ago, now there is genuine hope as City spy a re-run of their famous 3-1 victory over the Reds in December 2013.

It is funny how quickly things can turn around in football, sometimes.

As for supporters warming to him relatively quickly, when they would have been forgiven for thinking: ‘Marco, who?’ when he was unveiled as Mike Phelan’s surprise successor, the Portuguese is understandably happy, but it is nothing to do with reasons of vanity.

He said: “I am happy if they (fans) believe in me, but I am happy more when they believe in our team and our players.

“That is the most important thing for me.

“I said on the first day I came here, and to the supporters as well, that it is important for them to be with us.

“When that happens we are stronger.

“When the players feel a good atmosphere inside the stadium, when they feel the support, it is fantastic.”

Silva, who presided over an outstanding tactical performance by his side in Wednesday’s goalless draw at Old Trafford, may be fully entitled to be justifiably content with his opening month in charge of the Tigers on the back of impressive results against United – twice – and Bournemouth.

While those successes have provided highlights, it is the overall challenge which is energizing Silva, who is grateful for the chance to pit his wits in the world’s most ‘box-office’ league.

The brochure at Hull at the start of the new year may have put off many seasoned managerial campaigns, but not the 39-year-old.

It was always a terrific opportunity that he could never pass up with his enthusiasm not dimmed by the Tigers’ shortcomings either.

With refreshing earnestness, Silva said: “It is not possible for a coach to be in the Premier League and not enjoy it. It is a fantastic competition.

“When the supporters are happy with me then of course I am happy, but I want to give more for them.

“I am not here to promise anything, but what I will say to them is that we will continue to do our best and give 100 per cent 
always.

“For me, it is important that our supporters feel proud when they see our team play.”

Pragmatic enough to accept that results have helped in terms of players ‘buying’ into his methods, the former Olympiakos and Sporting Lisbon head coach, added: “The results are important.

“If you work well and do everything you can in training, but then don’t get results, then it can be difficult.

“But when they see results coming it is easier for them to believe in the coach and our ideas. When the players believe and buy the ideas of the coach, it is a lot easier.

“At this moment, I feel they understand and know what we want for the team. But we need to continue because we have a lot of work ahead of us in the next month.”

Much has been made of the improved organisation and tactical proficiency of Hull in the early stages of the Silva regime –and with good reason too.

Several players have alluded to his enlightened work on the training ground at Cottingham and meticulous attention to detail and acumen and with the doors of the transfer window now shut and City now running with what they have got until season’s end, the fine-tuning should also continue apace.

Like many of his managerial contemporaries, Silva is grateful to now know what he is exactly working with in terms of personnel and you suspect the fact that Hull are without a midweek game until early April is also an added bonus as he strives to build a side in his own preferred ethos on the training field.

Silva, whose numbers have been augmented by the signings of Kamil Grosicki, Andrea Ranocchia, Alfred N’Diaye and hopefully Yannis Salibur, said: “I am happy now.

“January was not easy for us with so many games in a row and important decisions we had to take.

“Now the market is closed and we know our squad. Now we can look to improve this group of players and give them confidence. Only together as a group, is it possible to achieve our goal.”