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McCann: ‘Keep on top of the Standards’

8 October 2020

Grant McCann has told his players to keep their standards high as Hull City prepare to face Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town.

The Tigers are one of only two League One clubs with a 100% record, having won all four matches without conceding a goal, and sit second behind leaders Lincoln on goals scored.

City will go top – momentarily at least – if they avoid defeat in front of the Sky Sports cameras against a Fleetwood side that have lost three of their opening four games.

And the boss says everyone must stay on top of their game if they are to extend the Tigers’ longest winning run at the start of a season in 72 years.

“You’ve got to keep on top of the standards,” said McCann. “You’ve got to keep on top of everything around the training ground every day.

“This group is doing that themselves, with the experience we’ve got, the characters. It’s about getting the tactics right on the day to try and win the game.

“It’s another tough game at Fleetwood. I’ve never had good experiences there personally, as a player or as a manager. I think I’ve only ever won once there as a manager and I don’t think I ever won there as a player.

“It’s a tough, tough place to go, especially on a Friday night with the wind swirling down by the sea. They’re a good team, they’re experienced. They’ve got goalscorers in their team.

“I think Fleetwood will be in and around the top six for sure. Joey knows the league. It’s another challenge we’ll have to meet head on.”

The Tigers are the only team in English football’s top four divisions not to have conceded a league goal this season.

A fifth consecutive clean sheet will equal a 116-year club record, set in 1925/26, but McCann insists he is more interested in the attacking side of the game.

“It’d be a great achievement,” he added. “It’s something we as a club wanted to do better and be more resolute in terms of our defending.

“But we don’t say, ‘make sure you keep a clean sheet’ – we want to try to score goals. We know if we press from the front, the more opportunities we’re going to get.

“I think you’ve seen that in the four games. We possibly could have had a lot more goals.

“You look back to the Gillingham game, maybe Northampton, the first half against Plymouth, there were opportunities where we could have had three or four, but we just didn’t take them.

“We’re working hard on that to be more ruthless in the attacking areas, picking the right pass at certain times to guarantee the goal.

“We’re working hard on the training ground, more so than keeping clean sheets. I don’t set out to say, ‘right, let’s keep a clean sheet’. I set out to say, ‘let’s see how many goals we can score’.”

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