Saturday 20 January 2018

Dowie's Tigers restore pride


John Curtis

Manager Iain Dowie praised his Hull players after "a display to be proud of" as they earned a precious point from a goalless draw at Birmingham. Dowie had demanded a response in the battle to stay in the Premier League after the Tigers had been beaten 4-1 at home by Burnley last weekend.

He reminded the squad of their responsibilities to the club and was satisfied with the way they claimed only their fifth away point of the campaign against Alex McLeish's side. "You have to be careful not to over-react at times. No one was more angry, frustrated or fuming at the end of the Burnley game than me after our second-half performance," said Dowie.

"I had a conversation this week with the players, ramming home what Premier League survival means to the area, the people who work at the club, and the fans. I asked for a response in training, then I wanted a positive performance today -- and I got it. There weren't many chances but I thought we shaded it in terms of opportunities. Given Birmingham's home record, it was a display to be proud of."

The Blues also responded in a positive fashion after their 5-1 reversal at Manchester City and they have not been beaten at St Andrew's since September.

"After the five breakaway goals from City last week, I wanted a clean sheet and I'm proud of the lads and the way we bounced back," McLeish said. "We have proved time and time again that we can bounce back. You have bad performances from time to time but the players have got it in their character to respond."

McLeish insists it is not difficult to motivate his players even though they have been safe in terms of points accrued since the end of February.

"At the start of the season people were thinking we would maybe win 10 or 12 games to get us safe, but the lads have punched above their weight considerably," he said.

"The difference between the top six sides and other clubs is that they can do it a bit more consistently."

Sunday Independent

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