WITH an unbroken run of 70 Premier League appearances to his name since Hull City won promotion, Ahmed Elmohamady is clearly a man who has embraced life among the elite.
The Egyptian, therefore, has as much reason as anyone to want the Tigers to survive this term and he believes the key factor will be manager Steve Bruce.
“The manager never gets down,” said the 27-year-old ahead of today’s trip to Crystal Palace. “He is always confident and that belief gives confidence to us all.
“Steve Bruce is a very experienced manager. He has been in this situation before so he knows how do deal with what is happening now.
“For the last two weeks (since Hull last played at Southampton), it has been all positive. We have been talking about our final six games. They are like cup games and he has said we need to get out of this position as soon as we can.
“He said we don’t deserve to be in this position, so we need to get the results as soon as possible. He makes everyone confident and happy.
“The big thing with the manager is he is always thinking positively. In training, he is never down. He keeps everyone focused, happy and positive.
“When you go into a game, to have confidence – especially in this position – is the most important thing.”
Elmohamady was brought to England by Bruce when the former Manchester United defender was in charge of Sunderland.
That was in the summer of 2011 and although things did not quite work out for the Egyptian at the Stadium of Light, Bruce had no hesitation in moving again for someone who is equally adept at full-back, wing-back or as an out-and-out winger.
Such faith has been rewarded several-fold, with Elmohamady having been a model of consistency since first moving to the KC Stadium during the opening weeks of the 2012-13 promotion-winning campaign.
This time around, the wideman has played all but one minute of Hull’s 32 league games and if the East Riding club are to survive then there can be little doubt that Elmohamady will play a key role down the right flank.
“Belief is big at this time of the year,” he said. “I have been with the manager now for five years.
“The thing is, it is not about training now that is important. It is about the mentality to just go out and win games.
“We have to get the results now, even away from home.
“People have asked me if this is similar to the year we won promotion. But it is different coming from the Championship to trying to stay in the Premier League.
“It is much more difficult and that is because we have something to lose.”
Hull’s run-in is by far the most daunting of the teams locked in trouble near the foot of the table.
After today’s trip to Selhurst Park, Hull have a trio of consecutive home games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley.
Then, comes an away day at Tottenham Hotspur before the campaign ends on May 24 with the visit of Manchester United to the KC Stadium.
Meetings with four of the top six plus bogey side Burnley – who have beaten the Tigers in eight of their nine meetings since 2009 – has led to many pundits writing off the chances of Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representative. Not that Elmohamady is fazed.
“We don’t have to prove anyone wrong,” he said.
“That is not the right way to think about it – I don’t care what others are thinking.
“I have not been following what is said. It is all tough, but you have to remember that against big teams like Arsenal and Liverpool, we got the results against them away.
“I think the fans will come to watch all these big teams and enjoy it and we want to make sure they go home happy with the results. We need to play these games with confidence.
“All that matters is our thinking. The staff, the players and the fans. We need to go to games, perform and show everyone we are unlucky to be in this position.
“We are in this position, but we know how to deal with it and the manager knows how to deal with it. He has said, ‘Just go and play football, get the results and make everyone happy’.”
Elmohamady was Hull’s only ever-present in the league last season. It is the same this time around, with his solitary 60 seconds off the pitch coming, coincidentally, at home to today’s opponents Crystal Palace when he was substituted to acclaim in stoppage time.
It is a fine record and one which makes the the wideman rightly proud. “If you play every game and your fitness is high, you don’t feel tired,” said Elmohamady when asked if he felt drained by playing every week.
“I know we are into the last six games and I have also been playing with the international team as well. But I feel all right. Everyone feels fine.
“The manager looks after the players in training, so everyone is fresh. The last (international) break was good. Everyone is fit and ready for Crystal Palace.
“We beat Palace earlier in the season but it is a different team now. They have changed their manager and their tactics. Some players are performing very well in this moment.
“They lost their last game (at home to West Brom), so I think that makes it tougher for us.
“I don’t think it will be an easy game. They play at home, it is a tough place to go and we all know this.
“But we will concentrate and focus on getting three points. We are not going to play for just one point. The confidence in the dressing room comes from the manager because he’s experienced enough to give confidence to the players.
“It is a big game but not one I get nervous about. I never get nervous, I just like to play.
“I have played on the big stage, especially with the national team and played in front of 100,000 in the Africa Cup of Nations. It’s okay for me to deal with this situation.
“We have some great experienced players in the team who have played at international level and in this league for a long team.”