Sunday 23 September 2018

Phelan warning despite opening win over Foxes

Hull City interim manager Mike Phelan during the Premier League match at the KCOM Stadium, Hull. PA Wire
Hull City interim manager Mike Phelan during the Premier League match at the KCOM Stadium, Hull. PA Wire

Hull caretaker manager Mike Phelan has warned the club's morale-boosting start to the season will be unsustainable without new signings.

The Tigers conjured the unlikeliest of 2-1 victories over champions Leicester in the first match of the Premier League season, to a background of fan protests, injury problems and Steve Bruce's departure.

Bruce was highly frustrated by the club's ponderous approach to recruitment before walking out and they remain the only top-flight side who have yet to sign a senior player.

On Saturday that left Phelan with just 13 first-teamers, augmented by five academy players on a threadbare bench - and he admits things cannot go on like that.

"There has to be new players coming into a football club," he said. "The club won't be able to sustain a push in the Premier League without the influx of new players.

"Everyone is doing it and Hull City are a little bit behind in bringing new players."

Robert Snodgrass was the Tigers' match-winner against Leicester, burying a first-time drive in the 57th minute.

A remarkable synchronised bicycle kick from Adama Diomande and Abel Hernandez had already been cancelled out by Riyad Mahrez's penalty, and Snodgrass hailed the heart his team showed to hang in for victory.

"We were the underdogs and everybody was tipping us to lose the game but when that happens there is something about this squad that makes us dig deep," he said.

"We stick together as a unit - we don't let what people are saying about us affect us. We wanted to show what got us to the Premier League in the first place - hard work and determination - because that is what this squad is built on.

"We rolled our sleeves up and we were ready for a battle."

Foxes skipper Wes Morgan conceded his side were off the pace as they became the first ever Premier League champions to start their title defence with defeat.

"Obviously we're very disappointed. We showed a lot of rust and I felt we were second best throughout," he said.

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