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McCann: Important to get Back on Track

2 January 2021

Grant McCann was thrilled to see his team get back on track with a comfortable 2-0 win over 10-man Charlton Athletic.

Goals from Hakeeb Adelakun and Greg Docherty earned Hull City a first win in five league matches after a run of three successive defeats.

Preparations had been far from ideal after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Tigers’ camp - and McCann hailed the “professionalism” his players have shown.

“I think it was important we got back on track today,” said McCann.

“It’s not been easy, not seeing each other for 10 days leading into Thursday.

“It’s been difficult to try and prepare through various channels with the players. It’s never easy when you can’t see them, apart from on a screen.

“But the boys’ professionalism over the last 10 days has been unbelievable. The last two days in training was probably the best I’ve seen the group train.

“I was a bit worried going into the game today, in that sometimes you can have two good training sessions but not perform in the game.

“But I thought we did today, against a team I have no doubt will be in and around the top end of the league come the end of the season.

“We had a really young back four out there today and we coped with everything they threw at us and we looked really threatening at the other end. I’m pleased with the result.”

McCann was particularly satisfied with the defensive showing as the Tigers secured a 14th clean sheet of the campaign.

“The biggest thing for us today was the control out of possession and our shape,” he added.

“We were really resilient in terms of our defensive shape.

“We got back to what we showed probably 14-15 games in with that defensive structure, making sure we were organised and everyone doing their jobs, from one to 11.

“That gives us the best opportunity to win the game.”

Explaining the decision to start George Long in goal in place of Matt Ingram, McCann said: “Matt hasn’t left his home for 10 days – he only did something very little in training yesterday.

“We didn’t want to take a risk with Matt. The reason I can speak about him is because I’ve got his consent to do so.

“He’s been isolating and hasn’t been feeling too well. He only did a little bit of training yesterday with Baz (Richardson), the goalkeeping coach.

“When the rest of the team have been training and Matt hasn’t, I don’t need to take a risk because his health is more important than anything. That’s the reason why George played.”

Asked about those players who were unavailable due to Covid, McCann commented: “I can’t name the individuals because I haven’t got the consent to speak about them.

“We were going into the game without five players who started our last game.

“It’s a testament to the squad depth and the lads’ focus on getting the job done today.

“The boys who have contracted the virus are on the mend. We’re hoping to have them all back with us on Monday and Tuesday.

“It’s a difficult time for everybody. We’ve got another round of testing on Tuesday, which is mandatory for all EFL clubs.

“We’ve put more restrictions in place at the training ground, in terms of what we can and can’t do, and the players are following it to a tee.”

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