RUTHLESS ABEL IS HAT-TRICK HERO
Slutsky’s delighted as Tigers impress
LEONID SLUTSKY was delighted with his first win as Hull boss but knows his squad could change between now and the end of August.
Abel Hernandez was the star of the show after netting a hattrick for Slutsky’s side against a plucky Brewers side.
Slutsky, taking charge of his first home game, was happy with the win but knows City need to strengthen their ranks before the transfer window closes later this month.
He is also keen to ward off clubs circling around his star players, including Kamil Grosicki and Sam Clucas.
“We played some unbelievable football today,” said the Russian. “We continue building and growing as a team, but we don’t have a lot of time to build.
“I was very nervous today as it was my first game here. But the support we got was unbelievable.
“The support helped our team, especially during a 20minute period which was really difficult for us.
“I thank the fans for that and hopefully that continues for all our home matches.
“We started well, scored and then had lots of chances. Obviously, playing against ten men is easier but overall we must be happy.”
The last time Tigers’ fans flocked to the KCOM Stadium was back in May when they witnessed their team bow out of the Premier League in embarassing fashion, losing 7-1 to Tottenham.
But they started excellently here and it wasn’t long before the City faithful were toasting the opening goal. Markus Henriksen smacked an effort against the bar and it was Uruguayan hitman Hernandez who was quickest to react as he nodded in the rebound to make it 1-0.
Shortly after, the bright Clucas tried his luck from distance but could only sting the gloves of Albion stopper Stephen Bywater.
Allan McGregor then had to be at his sharpest in the Hull goal to deny Tom Naylor, who looked destined to score when he planted a header goalwards.
But there was nothing the Scottish stopper could do about Jackson Irvine’s effort that drew Burton level shortly after. Irvine curled home a sumptu- ous effort that curled into the top corner to restore parity.
But the Australian soon turned from hero to zero within five minutes when he was sent off for a second booking for a foul on Jarred Bowen.
And if wasn’t long before the numerical advantage took its toll on the Brewers as Hull regained the lead on 51 minutes. Grosicki rose to meet Ola Aina’s precise cross and glanced his header beyond Bywater.
It was 3-1 a minute later when Hernandez netted his second of the afternoon as he fired beyond Bywater on 54 minutes.
And the former Udinese striker sealed his hat-trick on 68 minutes when he slotted home in style.
It was his second treble in a City shirt – his last came in a 6-0 hammering of Charlton in January 2016.
Albion chief Nigel Clough said: “There were several turning points in the game today and the red card was the most important one.
“Their first goal was offside and then Lucas Akins was onside and his goal ruled out.
“We then thought Jackson’s second yellow card was harsh so if you factor in those three, it was very difficult for us.”
THREE’N’EASY: Abel Hernandez celebrates with Frazier Campbell