Grant McCann has told his Hull City side they have to develop a ruthless streak if they are to make up for ground lost during the opening month of the season.
City return to action at home to Wigan Athletic this afternoon intent on halting a four-game winless run in the Championship.
The home victory over Reading five weeks ago remains the only league win of the season to date, with just five points collected from a possible 18.
The story of the Tigers’ season could have been very different with a sharper cutting edge.
Home defeats against both Blackburn and Bristol City might have yielded more if McCann’s men had taken their chances, while the 1-1 draw away to Brentford also had room for frustration in the final third.
City’s profligacy in attack has undermined the flashes of promise shown in the opening weeks of the campaign and McCann knows there is a need to punish opponents – starting with Wigan today.
“We’ve reflected on the first month and delivered a meeting to the players on where we are,” said McCann.
“A lot of the things we’re doing, we’re doing right. The last little bit that we know we’re not doing right is putting the ball in the back of the net. But that’ll come.
“It’s just a matter of us working hard on the training ground every single day to get that bit right.
That’s the important bit. There’s no point being the best team in terms of recovering balls in the opposition half in the league, which we are.
“The only team that’s quite close to us is Leeds. But the difference between them and us is that they recover and score. We don’t.
“We know where we need to get better and that’ll come.”
Never were City’s flaws more apparent than in the previous home game against Bristol City. Despite dominating for long spells, they eventually succumbed to two late goals to lose 3-1.
“If you don’t take your chances in this league then you’re suspect to conceding,” added McCann.
“It sounds plain but we know we need to be better in front of goal as a team. There’s no blame attached to anyone. We score as a team and concede as a team.
“We know we need to be more ruthless and at the other end we need to be more solid in terms of our defending.
“But I think that comes with us scoring when we’re on top in games. Naturally that makes you want to defend better as a team.”
City begin their next batch of Championship action with a fixture against an out-of-form Wigan side.
Paul Cook’s side have not won since the opening day of the campaign and lost five consecutive league and cup games before drawing 0-0 at home to Barnsley before the international break.
The onus will be on the Tigers to collect maximum points but McCann has full respect for counterpart Cook.
“Every game we try and win but it’s important we try and win playing our way,” said McCann.
“We’re disappointed with the points tally that we have so far. Now this gives us an opportunity, three Saturday games in a row this month, to try and pick up as many points as we can.
“That’s not going to be easy. Paul Cook’s teams are usually good football teams and play the right way. He’s a very good manager and I have huge respect for him.
“It’ll be a difficult game. They’ve recruited well in the summer with some of the players they’ve brought in. Jamal Lowe and Keiffer Moore to name a couple.
“It will be difficult but if we stick to our belief and our game plan, we’ll give ourselves the best chance to win.”
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