Grant McCann concerned that pressure of relegation scrap is starting to affect his Hull City players

Grant McCann questioned whether the pressure of Hull City’s relegation fight is starting to impact on his players in the wake of Saturday’s damaging home defeat to Millwall.

Hull City forward Keane Lewis-Potter holds his head in his hands after missing a late chance to salvage a point against Millwall. Picture: Getty Images

The Tigers conceded with just two minutes on the clock and never really recovered from that early setback. As a result, they remain stuck in the Championship drop zone, with just three fixtures left to play this term.

Their most recent loss was the club’s 13th in 17 league outings and fourth in six since 2019/20 resumed following coronavirus lockdown.

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Five of those six matches have seen City fall behind before half-time, while three of the goals they have shipped in their last four have now arrived inside the opening five minutes.

And, while his team’s defensive frailty leaves them vulnerable to conceding at any stage of a game, McCann has been left wondering if their slow starts and “tentative” first-half displays are a result of them struggling with the weight of their current situation.

“It’s a disappointing goal to concede so early in the game,” McCann said of Ryan Leonard’s decisive long-range strike.

“We’ve made a real habit of that in the last six games, conceding first in five of them, and that’s obviously a concern for us.

“Ultimately when we concede so early in the game it puts us right up against it.

“We look a bit tentative in the first half of games. I don’t know whether the pressure is taking a toll on some, but it’s very hard.

“We’re in this situation, we are where we are at this present time. We can’t look back, there’s no time to look back and go ‘right we did this wrong, we did that wrong three, four weeks ago.

“We’ve got to analyse this game tonight or tomorrow. We, as a staff, will look at it and try and put into place [a solution] for Wigan.”

Next up for City is Tuesday's trip to the Latics, before they host fellow strugglers Luton on Saturday. The Tigers then finish 2019/20 on the road at Cardiff City on July 22.