Grant McCann praises Hull City's defensive resolve as new formation earns third successive clean sheet - and win

Grant McCann hailed Hull City's defensive strength as they claimed a third successive win to put distance between themselves and the Championship relegation zone.

Often portrayed as a coach wedded to 4-3-3, McCann employed a back three in the victories over Birmingham City and Cardiff, as he did in the home win over Middlesbrough.

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It has worked, Hull keeping clean sheets in all three, although they also did in the 2-0 win at Barnsley which started this winning sequence having lined up with a back four.

DELIGHTED: Hull City coach Grant McCann

“Cardiff is a tough place to come and we knew it was going to be a tough game for us but I thought we were good,” said McCann.

“Defensively, we were really good in terms of what we done. Our shape and our structure were good and we scored a good goal off a set-play (Keane Lewis-Potter heading in at a corner).

“We had to stand firm at the end of the game – a lot of balls coming into our box, a lot of big players on the pitch for Cardiff – but I thought the lads stuck to the task really well.

“We know they’ve got a big centre-forward in Kieffer Moore and he’s dangerous from crosses and balls wide are always coming into the box.

“We had to be good in terms of trying to stop crosses, we had to be good at defending the first ball, the second ball and being around to pick that up.

“For the majority of the time, we were. Maybe one lapse of concentration where (James)Collins has got free in the second half (and hit the woodwork) and we maybe got under the ball a little bit.

“But apart from that, I thought defensively we looked very, very good as a team.

“For us to keep three clean sheets in a row with three wins, it’s a plus for us and we look forward to the game on Saturday (against Millwall).”

Sean McLoughlin, Jacob Greaves and Callum Elder made up the back three in Cardiff, with protection in front from Richie Smallwood and Greg Docherty. Tom Huddlestone also made a welcome return from injury, coming into the back three after Elder was substituted as a precaution after a head injury.