Hull City v Manchester United: Self-belief of Tigers is crucial to survival on D-Day

Hull City's David Meyler.
Hull City's David Meyler.
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AS A betting man, David Meyler admits the odds are against Hull City staying in the Premier League.

But, despite rating the Yorkshire club’s chances of avoiding the drop as no better than 3-1, the Irish midfielder remains adamant that tomorrow will bring victory over Manchester United and the clinching of an unprecedented third year in the Premier League.

“I believe we will win the game on Sunday,” said Meyler to The Yorkshire Post ahead of D-Day in the relegation scrap. “And I believe we will stay in the Premier League.

“I do like a bet. And I’d put it at 3-1 (that Hull stay up).”

Asked if he had enjoyed many winners at that price in the past year, Meyler laughed before replying: “I have, yes. So, it can be done.

“The big thing is I still believe in all my team-mates, the manager and all the staff. On Sunday, though, once 3pm comes round, it is down to us players. The 11 who are picked, and I believe in every single one of them.

“In the same way my father believes in me, I believe we will still be in the Premier League next season.”

Meyler’s belief is admirable. It is also to be hoped that his team-mates are of the same mind ahead of an afternoon that needs to bring not only three points against the Red Devils but a failure by Newcastle to beat West Ham United at St James’ Park.

For all that confidence, the omens are not good. Not only have City lost their last 10 meetings with United in a run that dates back to 1974, but Bruce is also yet to taste victory against his old club in 21 previous attempts as a manager.

Throw in the fact the Tigers are yet to win a game in May as a Premier League club despite this being their fourth year among the elite and the portents are not good.

Ask anyone at the KC about these statistics, however, and the reaction is one of defiance – as James Chester underlined earlier this week when he told this newspaper, “Records are there to be broken”.

We will know by 5pm tomorrow if that has proved to be the case and Meyler, for one, is adamant that Hull can beat the Old Trafford giants.

“There is no reason why we can’t win,” said the midfielder. “We came very close against them last season. We went 2-0 up at the KC after about 15 minutes. But Wayne Rooney then popped out of nowhere and pinged in a volley from 30 yards.

“They levelled the game after that and James Chester was unfortunate to later score an own goal and we lost 3-2. But we were right in it all the way through.

“We were disappointed not to come out with three points, never mind one. But it gives us belief, as does how we have done against the big teams this season.

“Look at the results we have had against Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool this season. That shows what we can do.

“I am not sure why we have done that (got results against better teams). It could be a number of things.

“We went to the Etihad (in February) and drew 1-1 against the then champions. But then lost against Leicester at home, Burnley at home and that was disappointing.

“We are in this position because we haven’t got the results. But there is one more chance to turn it round. Why can’t we do it?”

Hull’s struggles have come as something of a surprise. FA Cup finalists a year ago, City seemed to add quality in last summer’s transfer window as an unprecedented £40m was spent on a host of new arrivals.

A big season was expected, not least because the club was competing in Europe for the first time. The reality, though, has been very different. Out of the Europa League before the end of August, the Tigers started steadily but things began to unravel once the clocks had changed to signal winter was on its way. By Christmas, Bruce’s men were one place off the bottom after winning just two of their opening 16 league fixtures.

Wins have come on a slightly more regular basis since the festive season but not fast enough to keep Hull out of trouble, which is why tomorrow will start with the club odds on favourites to drop.

“I am in shock when I look at the situation we are in,” admits Meyler.

“After the wins the lads had against Palace and Liverpool (in April), we thought with Burnley coming up that we would beat them and kick on.

“But we lost and that has been our forte this year, where we haven’t really kicked on after getting good results. We haven’t been able to put three or four wins together in a row.

“Look at the run Leicester have been on. It has been incredible. We have not been able to do that.

“It is disappointing on our behalf because we have let the manager down and we have let the staff down. And ourselves.

“I didn’t expect this, no. Last season, we did probably exceed expectations.

“We knew it would be tough but this is our own fault.

“But we can turn this around. We are in a scrap now but we have a few fighting Irish here so we come out scrapping.”

Tomorrow seems certain to be a nervy day at both the KC and St James’ Park. As is always the case at this stage of a season, news of events elsewhere spreads very quickly.

That will no doubt be the case again this year, meaning an early goal for Hull likely to crank the pressure up even further on a Newcastle side that has been in freefall since March.

Meyler, though, insists that the Tigers’ only focus has to be on what is happening in their own match and ignore events elsewhere.

“If we don’t win, everything else is irrelevant,” said the midfielder. “In that respect, you do feel the responsibility. But I do believe we owe it to ourselves as players to be in the Premier League.

“It is a nine-month season and we have not been good enough in terms of beating teams in and around us. We haven’t taken chances when we should have.

“That is down to us, no-one else. The players who have played.

“I have been involved 29, maybe 30 games this season. We are all partly responsible.

“But we have one more chance to turn it around. Everyone knows that and everyone is focused.”