ANDREW ROBERTSON, the subject of an unsuccessful £10m bid from Burnley earlier this week, admits the transfer window closing could prove pivotal in Hull City’s quest for survival.
The Tigers gave their hopes of staying up a major boost with a goalless draw at Manchester United that was enough to lift Marco Silva’s men off the foot of the table.
Coming less than 24 hours after the window closed with Robertson still at the KCOM on Silva’s orders and seven new faces having arrived in January, there is genuine hope in the East Riding that Hull can win their fight to beat the drop.
“It was important for everyone, probably more so the manager than anyone else,” said Robertson, who at one stage had seemed set to join Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore in leaving City.
“For me as well, it is important that the talk and all the other stuff just goes away. That is the way you want it, you just want to focus on playing and obviously the last 48 hours (of the window) had seen a lot of talk.
“But I am glad I am here and I am glad I am working under this manager. I am glad he came out and showed his belief in me, which is always nice to hear. Long may it continue. I want to keep improving under him.”
Holding on to Robertson during the window was key, as was underlined just 90 or so seconds into Wednesday’s match at Old Trafford when his quick thinking denied Henrikh Mkhitaryan what would have been an eminently takeable goal-scoring opportunity.
It set the tone for a dogged display that meant Hull were full value for their point. With Kamil Grosicki and Alfred N’Diaye eligible for their debuts this weekend against Liverpool and Andrea Ranocchia making an assured start from the bench against Jose Mourinho’s men, City look in much better shape than at the start of January.
“We are a team fighting for our lives,” said Robertson. “We need people that are going to come in here that are going to be hungry and maybe have got a point to prove.
“You have got that with the two loan signings from the Premier League (Lazar Markovic and Oumar Niasse) – they have got a point to prove, to come here and try to prove themselves. I thought Niasse put himself about against United and was a handful. Markovic could also have stolen the headlines at the end (when hitting the post) and I thought his work-rate was fantastic.
“All the boys coming from abroad want to prove themselves in the biggest league in the world. That is good for us.
“We don’t want people coming in here just thinking it will be an easy ride. The boys that we have seen so far clearly don’t think like that.”
Mourinho’s outburst after Wednesday’s stalemate may have been designed to deflect attention away from his side’s struggles but there was no denying how well Hull played. Robertson puts this improvement under Silva firmly down to the head coach.
“He came in and put his work on things straight away,” added the Scot. “He told us we would have no days off and he has not been wrong about that! But the boys are happy going in every day. We are learning a lot under him.”