Hull 0 Stoke 0
Assistant manager Steve Agnew believes simple hard work is the reason for Hull’s exceptional defensive record at the KC Stadium.
After Saturday’s goalless draw against Stoke, the Tigers have conceded the fewest goals at home in the entire Premier League – three in eight matches.
It is a statistic few would have predicted at the start of the season and a point of some pride for a defensive group comprising a handful of cut-price summer signings and several survivors from last season’s Championship promotion campaign.
“Credit to the players because they work at it every week,” said Agnew.
“Our shape and our discipline behind the ball is really, really good and it does frustrate the opposition at times. We’re really, really pleased with them.”
The Potters started slowly and needed goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic, to be at his best to keep Ahmed Elmohamady and Yannick Sagbo out in the first half. But they dictated terms in the last 25 minutes and looked favourites to come away with a win.
Stephen Ireland did manage to put the ball in the net in the 70th minute, only to see his celebrations cut short by a marginal – but correct – offside flag. He was back in the starting XI following a starring role in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Chelsea and Hughes has been encouraged by his recent efforts.
He said: “Stephen was always a threat. I thought he played really well again.”
HULL: McGregor, Chester, Bruce (Brady 67), Davies, Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler (Rosenior 78), Figueroa, Sagbo, Graham (Boyd 82).
STOKE: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Muniesa (Pieters 66), Whelan (Palacios 78), Nzonzi, Arnautovic (Adam 90), Ireland, Assaidi, Crouch.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).
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