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Warren Hill

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Well that didn''t take long.

Following a thoroughly entertaining and promising draw against Everton, comes an incredibly frustrating and painful defeat at newly promoted Hull.

I suppose this reaction was even simmering gently below the surface last week, people taking isolated statistics and incidents to suit their own end and in some cases it even seemed like an agenda. In a week that saw Elliott Bennett sidelined long-term, we brought in Elmander and welcomed Leroy Fer to the matchday squad. Like most, I was intrigued to see what our line up would be, like most, when I did see it I was baffled. I was even more baffled to see Howson deployed wide but having said that, I thought we came out comfortably best in the opening exchanges. The next passage of play that saw us concede a penalty, not be given one for seemingly the same offence and a red card for the opposition was almost as baffling as the teamsheet. Still, whatever your interpretation of the events we were 1-0 down against 10 men, game on.

Now, some people have said that Hughton should have changed tack straight away, made a switch to a more attacking formation/make substitutions at this point. As it was we played through to half time. I don''t think that is unreasonable. Give the players on the pitch the opportunity to dig their way out of the hole they have created. At half time Snodgrass came on for Johnson who hadn''t had the best 45 but wasn''t the only one of whom that was true. Snodgrass gave us other options, Fer reverted to a deeper lying role that seemed to suit much better with Howson moving inside. Hughton has also come in for criticism for this change. If Snodgrass could play second half, he could have started. That''s feasible. My own view is that Hughton thought we could win this game without Robert Snodgrass, that he was on the bench as an option if we needed something, if we were chasing the game. He''s not fit. Had we not gone behind, I don''t think we''d have seen him at all, if it had been 0-0 in the 85th minute, Snodgrass would still have been sat on his Scotch rump. Not because of a lack of desire to win, but to protect such an important asset. His other substitutions also seemed fair enough, the increasingly ineffective Redmond (still full of promise) was replaced, Elmander showed enough to see he''s a good acquisition, Wes was busy, demanding the ball but couldn''t find the pass that the rest of the squad had been looking for all game either.

The truth is that Hull appeared to be there for the taking in the early stages, they were trying to play with expression and be expansive - this carved an opportunity for Koren but little else, it also gave us the gaps and areas to play in behind them and create chances ourselves. When they were reduced to 10 men, they were already leading and as long as that was the case keeping it tight was enough. We huffed and we puffed, we had good spells of possession but Hull remained resolute, disciplined and committed, they kept the crowd on side with some reasonably tough. but fair, tackling, Snodgrass helped by being the pantomime villain.

Towards the end, we ran out of ideas. It was thoroughly disappointing.

It was disappointing but a lot of the talk and criticism is silly. One bad result doesn''t make us a bad side, just like a decent performance against Everton didn''t mean everything was rosy, just like Cardiff beating Man City doesn''t mean they''ll be competing for the Champions League places.

We do have to improve, we need to play Leroy Fer where he is most effective, we need to get more crosses like Garridos into RvW because the lad has quality, we need to play our wide players in wide positions (we need to get them fit first), we need our best centre back playing at the heart of the defence.

The thing is, that all the above will happen. Hughton''s experimental line up didn''t work out yesterday, he changed it as early as I think was reasonable, he brought on three attacking players, we didn''t break them down. It seems that most want to blame Hughton for that, I think that really shortchanges Hull City. They dug in and ground out a result, they defended excellently and retained a shape and discipline that made things difficult for our lads.

Improvement required? Yes.

Change the Manager?

Let''s put it this way. Most fans seem happy enough to trust David McNally, citing how quickly he got rid of Gunn, the speedy replacement of Lambert etc.

Well the manager copping all the stick and apparently serving up dross since Xmas.....well, he''s still here isn''t he? He''s also just been trusted with the clubs biggest ever transfer budget. So either McNally trusts him and his judgment or perhaps he isn''t the CEO he''s credited as being?

Hughton is building a squad and a side, the road won''t be smooth, there''ll be potholes along the way, I guess some will fall by the wayside as we bump along the road but my seatbelt is firmly plugged in.

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