Tigers fans are hop­ing Silva can leave them feel­ing glad all over

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL - AT BET365 STA­DIUM Email: richard.sut­cliffe@ypn.co.uk Twitter: @RSootyYPS­port

AS the 1,464 Hull City fans filed out of what is surely the most ex­posed sta­dium in the Premier League fol­low­ing yet an­other dis­ap­point­ing away day, a by now fa­mil­iar re­frain filled the Pot­ter­ies air.

“Marco Silva, we’ve got Marco Silva,” sang the vis­i­tors from East York­shire to the tune of Glad All Over by the Dave Clark Five.

Con­sid­er­ing the Por­tuguese’s side had just slumped to a fifth straight away de­feat un­der his charge, the vo­cal sup­port from be­hind the goal spoke vol­umes.

Silva has re-en­er­gised a club that was fail­ing badly. He has also man­aged to bring har­mony where there was pre­vi­ously only dis­cord, re­con­nect­ing a bond be­tween sup­port­ers and the Tigers that had gone so awry it seemed wounds would never heal.

Of course, there is a still a chasm be­tween the Hull hi­er­ar­chy and their sup­port base. But, for now, all en­er­gies are be­ing chan­nelled in one di­rec­tion and credit for that must go to Silva.

Tom Hud­dle­stone, in his fourth sea­son at the East Rid­ing club, is well placed to as­sess the dif­fer­ence wrought by the club’s 39-year-old head coach.

“We have the be­lief that we will stay up,” he said. “We started the sea­son well, but then, af­ter those first few games up un­til the man­ager came in, there prob­a­bly wasn’t that be­lief – es­pe­cially from the fans.

“But the man­ager re­in­stalled that be­lief. He has also re­con­nected the fans with the club and the play­ers.

“We want to do it (stay up), first and fore­most, for our­selves to jus­tify our Premier League sta­tus. But, equally, for the fans be­cause the last few months they have stuck with us, home and away. We need to do it for them.”

Stoke’s home, built 20 years ago, is of­ten re­ferred to as “the chilly house on the hill” by the lo­cals. A lack of fore­sight by the de­sign­ers and a de­gree of cost-cut­ting in the £14m project means the two open cor­ners at ei­ther end of the main stand cre­ate a wind tun­nel ef­fect in au­tumn, win­ter and Spring that truly chills the bones.

This was very much in ev­i­dence on Satur­day as Hull made their sec­ond visit of the sea­son. The im­mac­u­late pitch may have been bathed in sun­shine through­out the af­ter­noon, but win­ter coats and gloves were very much the or­der of the day.

Thank­fully for those among the 27,505 crowd who spent the 90 min­utes shiv­er­ing in the shade, this tale of two Ci­tys was one to take minds off the cold.

Nei­ther side put much store by de­fend­ing, mean­ing chance upon chance was cre­ated at ei­ther end.

Stoke had most of these in an open­ing quar­ter that yielded both the open­ing goal for Marko Ar­nau­tovic and a spell of pres­sure so sus­tained that the Tigers seemed in dan­ger of be­ing swept away in a sim­i­lar man­ner to how dis­carded cof­fee cups and pie wrap­pers were be­ing picked up by the wind blow­ing through the main stand.

But, af­ter that, both teams posed suf­fi­cient dan­ger to the other’s creak­ing back­line that much of today for Silva and Stoke boss Mark Hughes will surely be spent work­ing on de­fen­sive drills. HEADS UP:

Stoke tri­umphed be­cause they were more clin­i­cal in front of goal than the vis­i­tors. Ou­mar Ni­asse, for in­stance, spurned two op­por­tu­ni­ties that seemed eas­ier to score than miss, while even Hull’s 51st-minute equaliser from Harry Maguire came af­ter fel­low de­fender An­drea Ranoc­chia had been un­able to con­vert an invit­ing cross from Sam Clu­cas.

The Pot­ters were also guilty of some poor fin­ish­ing, but, cru­cially, in Peter Crouch and Xher­dan Shaqiri they had two play­ers ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing when it mat­tered most.

Crouch’s big mo­ment came mid­way through the sec­ond half, the former Eng­land striker guid­ing a pin­point cross from Jonathan Wal­ter be­yond Eldin Jakupovic.

Shaqiri’s clincher was even more im­pres­sive, the Swiss in­ter­na­tional fir­ing in from 25 yards af­ter be­ing af­forded far too much space by a Tigers back­line that will have to tighten up.

“It is what we do that mat­ters,” added Hud­dle­stone. “We need to get to 39 or 40 points as soon as pos­si­ble. We have five games to do that.”

The first steps to­wards that tar­get can be taken next week­end when Wat­ford visit a KCOM Sta­dium that, no doubt, will be re­ver­ber­at­ing to the fans’ new ditty of choice.

“Say that you love me, all of the time, say that you need me, you’ll al­ways be mine,” is the orig­i­nal verse that the re­worked song re­tains.

Hull fans must hope that fi­nal line proves prophetic, as surely the only chance of Silva, on the radar of sev­eral top-flight clubs fol­low­ing his res­cue act in the East Rid­ing, re­main­ing at the helm next sea­son is if rel­e­ga­tion is avoided.

Peter Crouch de­fies the at­ten­tion of Hull City de­fender An­drea Ranoc­chia to head home for Stoke City, leav­ing Tigers coach Marco Silva, in­set, with plenty of prob­lems to sort out on the road.

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