DEFIANT head coach Grant McCann says that Hull City are adopting a siege mentality to see them through their most turbulent period of the season.
A ‘perfect storm’ of poor form, the departure of star players Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki and an horrendous injury count – with 10 players unavailable for tonight’s home game with Swansea – is threatening to change the narrative of the club’s campaign.
But McCann has a firm message for the ‘I-told-you-so’ brigade who scoffed at his side’s prospects before a ball was kicked last August – with Hull in firm play-off contention just six weeks ago.
The Tigers chief, whose side have picked up just one point from the last 18 available in six winless league games since a 1-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day, said: “We have had some good wins (before). Not many talk about them.
“People focus on the ones we have not. That is what it feels like a bit at the minute.
“It feels like everyone is on top of you, saying I told you so. It almost feels as though people are happy. That is what it feels like from the inside looking out.
“But it is my job to motivate this group and get them going again. They are a tremendous bunch of boys, who work hard every day.
“I will not let it fizzle out, that is not me. We will keep going until the last day of the season and see where it takes us.
“There is 14 games to go, a lot of points to play for.
“We are a way behind where we want to be. It is going to be difficult to challenge for the top six now because of the recent results, we have to hold our hands up.
“But we will not stop believing. Things change so quickly in this league. It is very unpredictable and we just need to get ourselves on one of those runs where you win two or three on the bounce.”
Without five centre-halves in the midweek defeat at Blackburn, McCann has at least been afforded a touch of respite with Matt Pennington and Ryan Tafazolli available for the East Yorkshire outfit’s meeting with the Swans.
With Jordy De Wijs, Reece Burke, Martin Samuelsen and Angus MacDonald set to return to training on Monday and Jon Toral and Kevin Stewart progressing in their rehabilitation, a congested treatment room is likely to ease shortly – yet McCann was always loathe to use it as an excuse.
McCann, whose 15th-placed side have lost their last five home games in all competitions, added: “When results are not going your way, it is very easy to start disagreeing with things or blaming things, but we do not do that. We do not have that culture here.
“There is no hiding away from it. We have been disappointing in the last five or six games, but in this league, even teams at the top are going through a bad spell, like Leeds. Swansea are coming to us having won one in seven.
“We just need to find a way to find this next win and that will give everyone a boost to kick on.
“We have been disappointing at home. Our away form is not too bad, but we need to be better at the KCOM.”
Stand-in Tigers captain Jackson Irvine is someone who is well used to making the doubters eat their words from his time at former club Burton Albion, who defied major odds to hold their own in the Championship in his time there and he believes that the embattled Tigers must show similar strength in adversity.
Irvine, handed the armband with Eric Lichaj set to be sidelined for the rest of the season, said: “It can be (seen) in a similar way. That is when you have to dig deep at times and battle through performances and then show your quality in key moments.
“I worked with some incredibly experienced players (at Burton) and there were a few of them who were very influential such as Ben Turner and Lloyd Dyer.
“They had a big influence on me in my time and I learned a lot from guys like that.”
Last six games: Hull LLLLDL; Swansea DWLDLD.
Referee: D Webb (Co.Durham).
Last time: Hull 3 Swansea 2, December 22, 2018; Championship.