Marco Silva has to cure the away day sickness to make sure of Hull's salvationby Andy Dillon / 07 April 2017, 10:57Tweet
AUSSIE soap opera Home And Away would not be considered by many as worthy of a place in the City of Culture.
Yet it sums up the storyline gripping Hull City’s spirited fight against relegation and one in which boss Marco Silva plays the lead role.
Since taking over on January 5 the Portuguese manager has not lost any of his eight games at The KC Stadium.
On the flip side he has not won any of the seven matches on the road.
Hull have become a bunch of agoraphobics and whether they can beat the condition will have a huge say in whether City stay up.
A glance at the run in shows they have three home matches left and four away - starting with Manchester City on Saturday.
Three games left in the comfort of the UK’s designated City of Culture where the team is untouchable at present.
City have 30 points at the moment and extrapolating the graph of current form means that would take them to 39 if the trend continues.
The magic mark is 40 leaving them one short and that’s where Silva needs to cure City’s fear of stepping outside their house to claim that one point which would make the difference.
Thirty nine points might well be enough to keep them up of course depending on the teams around them. But wouldn’t it more comfortable to get over that line under your own steam?
After Manchester City, Hull go to Stoke, Southampton and finally to Crystal Palace in what could well become a shakedown for survival for the two threatened teams.
Silva is probably writing off the trip to City this weekend, who will be eager for a bounce back after losing at Chelsea on Wednesday night.
That leaves Stoke and Southampton as two towns to visit from which City cannot afford to come home empty-handed.
Silva has got to learn that clean sheets smell the freshest.
Since taking over Hull have only kept the opposition strikers out on two occasions - although it was Manchester United and Liverpool!
But now is the time for the defenders to step up to the plate. The forwards have been doing it and scoring the goals at home which has given them a scrapper’s chance of survival.
Silva played with four up front against West Ham and at home it can work as The Hammers were swamped in a second half onslaught.
City came from behind to win and the confidence when the players run out onto home turf is palpable.
But what he needs to do now is instill into his back four how important it is to avoid conceding - and to pack up some of that self-belief into a bag to take on their travels.
It’s an old trick used by Sam Allardyce, now at fellow strugglers Crystal Palace. The art of defending is vastly underrated in the modern game but there is a style to it and it can make or break a season.
Allardyce’s philosophy on staying up starts at the back by drumming into his defenders that they carry the weight of the team on their shoulders. That not conceding a goal means you will not lose.
It’s simple but has hugely been effective over the years and Silva could do with taking it on board if City’s soap opera is not to become a full blown tragedy in the city of culture.