Sunday 23 October 2016

Mike Phelan looks ahead to possible "big week" for Hull amid takeover talk

Published 13/08/2016 | 23:31

Mike Phelan led Hull to an unlikely win over Leicester
Mike Phelan led Hull to an unlikely win over Leicester

Caretaker manager Mike Phelan hinted a takeover at Hull could be days away after kicking off the season with an unlikely victory over Premier League champions Leicester.

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Hull's pre-season preparations have been some of the most chaotic in top-flight history with boss Steve Bruce walking out over a lack of signings, injuries to key men and supporter protests against the Allam family, whose ownership of the club has descended into bitter acrimony.

In the middle of it all has been Phelan, Bruce's former assistant, and he defied the odds to oversee a 2-1 win at the KCOM Stadium.

Representatives of a Chinese consortium were present as Adama Diomande's overhead kick and Robert Snodgrass' first-time drive downed the Foxes, and Phelan thinks there may be more good news for Tigers fans on the way.

"We shall have to wait and see, but it might be a big week this week," he said.

"This club has been getting taken over for about eight to 12 months - on and off, on and off - but apparently there's new buyers out there. I want to leave that to them to take care of.

"How long that might take, if there is a deal on, is up to the powers that be. My job is to enjoy my weekend because there's not many Saturday nights you can enjoy in the Premier League and this is one."

At present Phelan does not know where he stands with the Allam regime, though on Saturday's evidence he is ready and able to offer a steady hand for as long as he is needed.

"I hope there's communication there. It's important that you know exactly what direction it's going in," he said.

"Meeting everyone, sitting down, discussing going forward should be important at any football club."

Phelan has spent his entire coaching career out of the spotlight, first assisting Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and then joining Bruce in East Yorkshire.

And even now he was keen for his squad, which currently consists of 13 fit first-teamers and five academy prospects, to take the plaudits.

"I was relieved, thrilled...the whole emotions came out because it's been hard for every one concerned. It was just a case of the players galvanising each other today against the champions," he said.

"They got their rich rewards for a good performance.

"Sometimes football throws these issues up and you're not in control of them so you get on and do your job.

"These players were ready for this. They've worked hard, kept themselves together, showed a great attitude in pre-season. Everyone did their job and that's the pleasing thing for me."

Claudio Ranieri, whose Foxes made a habit of upsetting the odds en route to their 5000/1 title charge last season, was clear where the game was lost.

A Riyad Mahrez penalty just after half-time drew them level but they never fully settled.

While Ranieri refused to fault Leicester's work-rate he believes they did not display sufficient team work, an attribute that was crucial to their success.

"We made a big effort but it was individual effort, not like a team," said Ranieri.

"Our strength is when everyone is connected to each other.

"Against Manchester United (in the Community Shield) we played as a team, today it was big effort but not together. This is the key of the match.

"I can say thank you to my players, their effort was amazing, but they must understand the team is stronger than individual players."

Ranieri did not comment on Jeffrey Schlupp's mooted move to West Brom, despite the fact the winger did not travel with the squad.

"I choose the first XI. He, of course, wants to play but I can't say that you play every match," offered the Italian.

Press Association

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