Although it was not the most thrilling spectacle of FA Cup weekend, Marco Silva already seems to have got Hull City working in a more organised unit after just two training sessions. The Tigers looked more solid in defence as Swansea City struggled to break them down.
Unfamiliar defence nullify the threats of Borja and Sigurdsson
Silva's first major decision came when deciding who to field in a makeshift defence. With the likes of Curtis Davies, Harry Maguire, Ahmed Elmohamady and Moses Odubajo all absent, Silva opted for experience as Michael Dawson marshalled a back four consisting of Andrew Robertson and out-of-position Jake Livermore and David Meyler.
Throughout the season Hull have been exploited down the flanks and defending the resulting crosses. Swansea looked to adopt similar positions, though it was a surprise to see aerial threat Fernando Llorente rested on the substitutes bench considering Hull's weaknesses.
The visitors constantly looked for their wide players as they attempted to overload on the flanks, with the likes of Kyle Naughton and Stephen Kingsley pushing forward from the full-back areas. The pair were an outlet throughout, with Kingsley in particular impressing before he was forced off with an injury on 67 minutes.
Although the Swans were able to produce a handful of dangerous deliveries, lone striker Borja Baston rarely got on the end of the balls played in. The greatest threat came from Ki Sung-Yeung, who regularly found space between the Hull defenders as he made late runs from attacking midfield. Though the South Korean struck the post and forced Eldin Jakupovic into a fine save, his positioning arguably took away the threat of Gylfi Sigurdsson who looked lost in an inverted winger position.
Llorente added value to the Swansea attack when he replaced Borja, regularly winning aerial balls including the cushioned touch that assisted Ki with his strike that struck the woodwork. Hull still looked uncertain when trying to dominate their penalty area and this remains an area to work on for Silva.
Slight adjustments pay dividends
The majority of Swansea's play started with anchor Jack Cork. For the opening 20 minutes they dominated possession through Cork and pressed high up the pitch to pen Hull in when they lost the ball. Yet the visitors were made to pay for an early energetic outlook, allowing Hull more time on the ball as Ryan Mason picked up the reigns in the centre of the pitch.
Despite matching their opponents in midfield, Hull offered very little threat up front in a reflection of their season so far. One positive was the confidence of Sam Clucas to make runs into the penalty area as the Tigers offered more prospects in the final third, with Clucas arguably proving to be hosts' greatest threat. Yet the return of Abel Hernandez filled the void that had been missing for the Premier League's lowest scorers and his football-mind and fast reactions allowed him to find space to turn in Shaun Maloney's pass across.
The greatest test for the Tigers came at that moment when they were faced with 12 minutes to defend their lead. Hull had looked nervous in previous situations, though appeared more resolute despite Tom Huddlestone having to replace Dawson in defence, leaving Robertson as the only regular defender in the back four. After a brief flurry from Swansea, Hull effectively killed the game by continuously breaking up play and slowing the game down. Yet it would have been easy for teenage substitute Josh Tymon to hold back when he had the presence of mind to push forward and support an attack that ultimately resulted in the youngster scoring his first senior goal.