Hull boss feels the love after Aaron Connolly celebrates birthday with brace

The Tigers had not won at home since early October and were indebted to Connolly
Hull boss feels the love after Aaron Connolly celebrates birthday with brace

Hull City's Aaron Connolly celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at MKM Stadium, Hull. Picture   Ian Hodgson/PA Wire. 

Hull manager Liam Rosenior hailed Aaron Connolly as a "natural" in front of goal after he scored twice on his 23rd birthday in the 3-0 victory against QPR.

The Tigers had not won at home since early October and were indebted to Connolly, on loan from Brighton until the end of the season, for his contribution against admittedly lifeless opposition.

Rosenior said: "I've known him since he was a kid and I love him.

"If he misses the first chance he'll take the second one. His timing and movement is so good and he's showed exactly why I wanted to bring him to the club.

"He'll be the first to admit he's made mistakes, but you've got remember that he's just 23.

"He's emotional at times and when he first came to the club, he was on his best behaviour. But I didn't want that, I wanted him to be himself.

"I believe in him. He's a natural. I think he's a Hull City player and embodies what this club is about."

Hull are now one point adrift of 14th-placed QPR in the Sky Bet Championship and have lost just once under Rosenior since the mid-season World Cup break.

Connolly's first goal after 10 minutes was largely down to good work on the right from Cyrus Christie, but he still had the composure to loop the ball over Seny Dieng.

QPR improved after the restart, but they were caught in possession after 62 minutes - with a swift counter-attack leading to Rob Dickie deflecting the ball into his own net.

Connolly then controlled a reaching Jean Michael Seri pass through the middle to put the game to bed just two minutes later.

Rosenior said: "I'm a relieved man. It's felt like an eternity since we won at home.

"But I think it's been coming. Our performances at home have merited more points. To play so aggressively and on the front foot, I couldn't be happier with the players.

"It's been so long to celebrate a home win and it's a moment I'll never forget."

Counterpart Neil Critchley admits change is required if QPR are to salvage their season.

They have badly faltered since former manager Michael Beale's departure to Scottish Premiership side Rangers and paid the price for an awful start at the MKM Stadium.

Critchley said: "We were miles off. Our start to the game was passive at best - in and out of possession.

"Out of possession, we were nowhere good enough. Once the game settled down we did better, but it was still not good enough.

"Possibly the only positive at half-time was that it was 1-0.

"We started the second half better but then we conceded an awful goal, a horrible goal.

"If you look at the recent history of this football club, it's quite clear to me that a few things need to change.

"What's the saying? 'Either the people change or you change the people'.

"It's nothing to do with tactics or ability but when it's hard, we lack the certain basics of football.

"When the going gets tough you need people to stand up and do the ugly side of the game better than we do.

"It's a challenge. I enjoy a challenge, but it's quite clear to me where this team need improving.

"We need to change and we need to change quickly."

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