Mike Phelan admitted to having a range of emotions as the Tigers secured their first league win in nine matches against Southampton on Sunday afternoon. Yet the result came at a cost as striking duo Abel Hernandez and Will Keane added their names to a substantial injury list at the KCOM stadium.
The manager feels "relief, happiness and concern"
Phelan suggested "there is a bit of everything in there really" on reflection of the 2-1 victory. He expanded on that by explaining there is "relief, happiness, concern about the injuries we’ve picked up in the game and the players we’ve got going away on international duty".
However, the manager was keen for his beleaguered club to enjoy that first three points since the second game of the season. He explained "it’s a time to enjoy the moment of winning and hopefully we can kick on from this after the international fixtures".
After his first victory since being awarded the role of manager on a permanent basis, Phelan explained how his half-time discussion with the team may have supported the turnaround after Hull found themselves a goal down. “We spoke at half time about the next goal being massive and we needed to stay together and have that bit of belief".
Hull did just that and added a second soon after before a vintage defensive display. Phelan added "our first goal came at the right time, and then we got the second one so soon afterwards and I thought we grew in stature after that". An improved confidence ensured Hull "repelled everything that they threw at us and our goalkeeper was outstanding. The game was hard-fought, but the rewards were great".
"It doesn't look good for either of them"
Yet the manager also admitted to having concerns over his two strikers that came off injured. He explained “there’s always a sense of here we go again when you have a start to the game like we did and then losing two players to injury forced our hand".
Expanding on the injuries, Phelan commented “Will [Keane] has a knee injury and Abel [Hernandez] a groin injury. It’s a case of wait and see what the medical reports say and from there we’ll either put them both on the list with all of the others or take them off it, but to be honest it doesn’t look good for either of them".
The manager also admitted that using Dieumerci Mbokani and Robert Snodgrass as substitutes was a risk in itself with both players only just recovering from injuries. “Neither of them had done much in terms of training leading up to the game because of their own previous injury problems and it was a risk putting them out there so early". The risk was to pay off though as Snodgrass scored the equaliser and then created the winner.