Hull City should be glad of quick chance to put right 8-0 defeat - Sue Smith

I never went through a defeat like Hull City's 8-0 hammering at Wigan Athletic on Tuesday.

BEATEN: Hull City coach Grant McCann looks at his watch during Wigan Athletic's 8-0 win
BEATEN: Hull City coach Grant McCann looks at his watch during Wigan Athletic's 8-0 win

The closest I got was losing 5-0 playing for Leeds United against Arsenal in the Women's FA Cup final.

All I will say to the Hull players is they are lucky their next game has come around so quickly, because it is an awful feeling when you have a whole summer before you can put a match like that right.

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Hull's last two games, against fellow strugglers Luton Town today, and play-off-chasing Cardiff City on Wednesday, are must-wins and I hope they can recover, but it will not be easy.

Tuesday's game got Hull a lot of unwanted media attention, and our match was the biggest game of the women's season, live on BBC 1 and played in front of 25,000 – a big crowd for women's football then – at Nottingham Forest.

It was a chance to showcase what I and my club could do, and a lot of fans of Leeds's men's team came down to watch their first game of women's football. It made me feel bad thinking they might not come back.

For Hull, the consequences of defeat are much greater. Relegation will cost people their jobs, and not just players and coaches but people off the field who could have no influence on it.

I was listening to the game on the radio as I headed into work at Sky Sports, and when I parked my car they were 2-0 down. By the time I got to the studio it was 5-0!

When it reached 7-0 at half-time I just could not believe a team that needed to show fight and oomph to stay in the Championship could be absolutely battered like that.

You can look at the owners for letting Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki go when they did, and maybe you can blame the coach, Grant McCann, for how he set them up and question if he is getting the best out of his players, but that evening was nobody's fault but the players'.

When you see a scoreline like that it immediately makes you ask where the leaders are, and it is perhaps no coincidence Hull released their captain, Eric Lichaj, and vice-captain, Jackson Irvine, at the end of football's lockdown when they were unable to agree new contracts.

People will always ask if the players care, but sometimes it is more the case that they do not know how to react.

Reading the coverage in The Yorkshire Post, for example, it seems like Josh Magennis was very vocal but maybe he expressed it in way that was not always going to help team-mates, particularly younger ones, whose confidence was shot.

Leadership is not always about shouting and screaming, it is about wanting to be on the ball and setting an example on the pitch.

As a forward player, sometimes that can be difficult to do. A central midfielder can go hunting for the ball but as a winger that is more difficult.

When we were being badly beaten by Arsenal that day, myself and fellow winger Jess Clarke were England internationals and I classed myself as an experienced player.

On Tuesday, Hull conceded a soft goal from a corner after 80 seconds. In our game, we conceded an own goal after three minutes and you try to be supportive. Five minutes later we conceded another and we were struggling to get out of our own half, so it was difficult for me to get on the ball and help.

Every time I did I tried to do something but at times I tried too hard when a simple pass might have been better, so I can certainly understand how players like centre-forward Magennis got frustrated because they were struggling to make an impact.

No matter how confident a person you are, days like that take a bit of getting out of your system.

I remember not wanting to watch the game back but I did because we had to learn from it, and you tell yourself you never want to feel like that again.

I do not know what McCann will have said in the dressing room afterwards. You do not really want to lay into players too much when they are so deflated, and it is almost pointless trying to pick them up then because it means nothing.

There was just silence in our dressing room at the City Ground. You just wanted to shower and get out as quickly as possible. Some people will be really upset, some quite angry, others bitter, but I just remember the dressing room was eery.

Everyone had planned on going out afterwards to celebrate reaching the Cup final but I went straight home and sulked because I am the world's worst loser.

You could hear the other changing room, which is at least something Hull might have been spared by all the covid protocols.

As soon as we were out of there it was headphones on or onto the phone. I would always speak to my mum and after defeats, I would want to talk about anything but football.

That is what football is like – horrendous lows and the biggest highs you miss when you give it up.

I went away with England quickly afterwards, and as I travelled down with some of the other north-west-based players, you could see they did not want to bring it up, but I ended up doing that myself. Then when you met up with the squad there were plenty of Arsenal players there but you quickly switched to England mode.

The Cup final was our last game of the season, whereas Hull's players have an opportunity to draw a line under it today.

When Southampton lost 9-0 to Leicester City earlier this season their next two games were against Manchester City and although they lost both, they put in performances which recovered a bit of pride, and have gone from strength to strength since.

When you have played at your absolute worst you have nothing to lose. Anything else is a bonus.

Having conceded so early in midweek, it is important Hull focus on trying to hold out until half-time today, and hopefully nicking something at the other end.

Hull's players will be hating football at the moment, but if they get a win today, they will be buzzing this evening.

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