Grant McCann urges Hull to build on Birmingham win

Grant McCann believes Hull’s comprehensive 3-0 victory against Birmingham can inspire his players ahead of the busy festive period.

McCann’s side are now just four points off the Sky Bet Championship play-off places following their third consecutive win at the KCOM Stadium.

But the Hull head coach is convinced there is still much more needed if dreams of finishing in the top six are to be realised.

He said: “This performance will give us a lot of confidence going into three games in such a short space of time.

“We’ve another tough game against (Nottingham) Forest on Boxing Day and we’ll look to do the same again.

“I stand by what I’ve said – we’re at the halfway point and 33 points is not good enough for us.

“We’ve got a lot of learning and a lot more improvement to do in the second half of the season.

“We’re OK, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Hull were deserved winners, but it required a neat header from Tom Eaves in first-half injury-time to get the hosts up and running.

Blues never looked like getting back into the game from there on in, and conceded a second through Kamil Grosicki’s clever chip.

Hull-born striker Keane Lewis-Potter then added a late third with a drilled finish.

McCann said: “I thought maybe in the first half we were slow in our play – it’s difficult to break through two banks of four.

“We didn‘t take as many risks as I’d have liked.

“I just thought our movement was a wee bit slow and that we didn’t pass quick enough – I’d have said that to the boys at half-time even if we hadn’t have scored.

“I thought in the second half we upped the tempo a lot more.

“We played forward a lot more, we had a lot more runners and we were much better.”

Counterpart Pep Clotet felt Birmingham should have been awarded a penalty midway through the first half when Leo Lopes bustled Jeremie Bela to the ground.

McCann admitted that he had “seen them given”.

And Clotet said: “We have been awarded one penalty in 23 games so you can make your own numbers there.

“We send a report after every game because they ask us to do that, and we always get a letter back saying, ‘You were right, it should have been (a penalty) but it’s not been awarded’.

“A referee’s action is not an action to justify a result, but obviously some decisions go against you and you need to be prepared – it’s part of football.

“Two things affected the game too much. The first is that clear penalty which was not awarded. That would have had a tactical effect on the game.

“The second thing is that corner that we gave them (that led to Eaves’ goal) at the end of the first half was poorly defended.”

Birmingham have now lost six consecutive games away at Hull.

Clotet added: “History told us it’s a very difficult place for Birmingham to come.

“We knew that they would start very strong for 20 minutes. Slowly after that we managed to control the game (until Eaves scored).

“We had to go forward in the second half. We created chances but we didn’t score the goals and that obviously made us very vulnerable.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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