Saturday 21 April 2018

Robert Snodgrass thriving in lead role of Hull's fight against the odds

Robert Snodgrass scored Hull's equaliser
Robert Snodgrass scored Hull's equaliser

Robert Snodgrass is happy to personify Hull's "never say die" spirit after continuing his stunning start to the season with a late, late show against Burnley.

Snodgrass has more reason than most to grab his Premier League chance with both hands, having missed the entire 2014/15 season with a career-threatening knee injury sustained on his league debut for the club.

He battled back as part of last year's promotion-winning side and is now enjoying a purple patch for club and country, taking his tally to six goals in as many matches with an exquisite injury-time free-kick to ensure a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.

Less than a week earlier the 29-year-old scored a hat-trick for Scotland against Malta and he is relishing his leading role with a Tigers side who are making a habit of upsetting the odds.

"It's nice to be the man that gets the goal," he said after delivering a seventh point of the season for a team whose off-field strife has yet to derail matters on the pitch.

"It's nice when you get on the scoresheet but always nicer when there's some points in there. To get the point shows that never-say-die attitude.

"I've been working a lot on free-kicks and moments like that you've got to seize the moment, be the difference, score the goal.

"The practice you put in needs to come to the fore when you step up so I'm delighted."

Like Hull, Burnley's point relied on a moment of brilliance at odds with an otherwise perfunctory performance.

It came from the boot of Steven Defour, who plucked a high ball out of the sky with a neat touch that also suckered Sam Clucas before striding forward and finding the bottom corner from distance.

The Belgium international swapped perennial title-challengers Anderlecht for a likely relegation battle in Lancashire and Clarets boss Sean Dyche was more than willing to welcome him aboard.

"He's a very experienced player and he wanted the challenge of the Premier League," said Dyche.

"Arguably people have overlooked him so this might have been his last chance. He wanted it and he's certainly up for the challenge.

"We know Steven is a very good player and that's why we brought him to this club.

"He has played 47 times for Belgium in what is arguably one of their golden eras, and he has adapted here very well.

"He's been in completely different culture of football in Belgium, a lot slower, a lot more methodical at times and come into the fire and quality of the Premier League. I thought he was outstanding."

Both managers started with expensive new arrivals on the bench, including club record signings Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Mason.

"Jeff's only been in since Thursday morning, it's a lot to ask for someone in so late to step into it. It will take time for everyone to bed in," said Dyche.

Phelan, who started the season with just 13 fit senior players, added: "To throw them right in probably would have been unfair, not only to the substitutes but to ones who've done so well for us. But we've put them under pressure to keep performing because now there is a bench, and that helped."

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