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Sunday 23 April 2017

Jakupovic thinks Hull 'need 36 or 37 points' to seal Premier League survival

Eldin Jakupovic believes Hull are 15 to 16 points away from Premier League safety
Eldin Jakupovic believes Hull are 15 to 16 points away from Premier League safety

Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic believes a total of 36 points could be enough to keep the club in the Premier League this season.

The Tigers, second from bottom and currently on 21 points - four from safety - face a crucial fixture at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday against relegation rivals Swansea.

The Welsh club have won five of their last eight league games under head coach Paul Clement to move six points clear of Hull with 11 games left to play.

When asked if anything other than victory for the Tigers would be acceptable, Jakupovic told a press conference: "When you say it like that, a point is a point.

"I don't think we need 40 points to stay in the Premier League, I think we need 36 or 37 points.

"One point would get us nearer the 36 and we would have to take the point, so better that than nothing.

"But I wish we can take the three points. We're going to go for three points, but we have to be clever."

The Tigers have taken eight points from their last seven league games under Marco Silva, who replaced Mike Phelan four days after Swansea appointed Clement.

Silva's first game in charge was a 2-0 home win against Swansea in the FA Cup, with Hull also winning by an identical scoreline at the Liberty Stadium in August.

"I don't want to say it, but for me, it's not the final game, but it's a massive game," Jakupovic added.

"We have to believe in ourselves, every player and everyone has to give 150 per cent - 100 per cent is not enough."

Silva has a big selection dilemma after confirming centre-half Curtis Davies is back in contention after a hamstring injury.

Harry Maguire and Andrea Ranocchia have formed a solid partnership in Davies' five-game absence and Silva, who will otherwise choose from an unchanged squad, must decide whether to split that up.

Silva has proved the master of understatement since succeeding Phelan at the KCOM, but even the inscrutable Portuguese agreed with former Tigers skipper Ian Ashbee's assertion that Saturday was "do or die" for their survival chances.

"Yes, it's true, we have to win," Silva said. "After the last result (defeat at Leicester), of course we need to give an answer.

"In our stadium, with our fans, with that support, it's very important for us.

"The last results at home, okay Burnley was not the best, but past results are a good sign and give us confidence as well and we need to win.

"Of course we respect our opponent, but it's a really important game for us and it's one game we need to get three points."

Silva, who was leading Olympiacos towards the Greek title this time last year, did attempt to play down the pressure he and his players are under ahead of Swansea's visit.

"It's not only our players. Not only our club," he added. "This moment is the start of games (to decide) the champions, qualification for European competitions and to remain in the Premier League.

"There's pressure on all these teams. It's football, it's normal and the other clubs have this pressure as well."

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