Grant McCann fired a warning to his Hull City players demanding they grow up, following Saturday’s 3-1 defeat against Sheffield United.
City were well beaten at the MKM Stadium against the resurgent Blades and were 3-0 down by the time Keane Lewis-Potter slammed in a Tyler Smith cross to end their ten-hour goal drought.
It could have been even worse for the struggling Tigers, had Matt Ingram not saved a first half penalty from Billy Sharp with the score at 0-1.
The Tigers’ familiar frailties from set-pieces were again exploited by the street-wise Blades, with John Egan bagging a second half brace from two Conor Hourihane corners following some pretty tepid defending.
Such defending has left McCann frustrated all season and having watched his side gift the opposition three easy strikes to take the game away from his men, the City chief admitted the performance was a kick in the teeth.
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“We can’t keep saying we had good spells in the game that some of the play was good and some of the opportunities were good, we need to get better, it’s as simple as that,” McCann said.
“I take accountability for it because I’m the manager, we all need to be better and we’ll go back to the drawing board and go again.
“We’ve lost three or four games this season on set-plays and that’s a kick in the teeth for us.
“I know we’re 1-0 down, but we’re still in the game. The first one is disappointing – they’re an experienced team – Billy Sharp’s got a hold of Mallik (Wilks) and then John Egan gets away, it’s disappointing from us.”
While Mallik Wilks was blocked by Sharp for the second Blades goal, McCann says his side have to be more solid and not allow themselves to be bullied so easily.
“We understand that there’s not been many free-kicks or penalties given for those this year, even VAR in the Premier League has ignored it,” he said.
“So we need to understand that, we need to get better at it because we can’t let anyone block us, it was frustrating.
“To go and concede again off another set-play is totally unacceptable.
“Our best markers are in the box and they’re the ones that have let us down on a few goals, so it’s very hard to make decisions like that, we’ve got lads who can do the job but in big moments in games its going against us at this present time.
“We’ve got to learn, we’ve got grow up as a staff and as players.
“Teams are aggressive, we need to be as aggressive when we’re defending set-plays.”