Hull City may begin the 2017-18 season in the Championship, but none of that blame lies on the shoulders of manager Marco Silva.
Having taken just 13 points from their first 20 Premier League games, the Tigers have managed 21 from 18 games since the Portuguese boss arrived.
That averages out at 1.16 points per game, or 44 over the course of the season – a total which would have left the East Yorkshire sitting comfortably in mid-table.
But it’s not just City’s owners who should be keen to keep Silva in the KCOM Stadium hotseat. There’s also plenty of reason for the former Olympiacos boss to retain the reins in the Championship. That’s because…
He knows how to win promotion…and build on it
While May 2017 saw Hull narrowly drop out of the Premier League, back in May 2012 their gaffer was busy celebrating promotion to Portugal’s Primeira Liga with underdogs Estoril.
With Silva at the helm – in his first ever season as a manager – the Praia outfit breezed promotion from the second-tier, topping the table from the 12th game of the season onwards.
But that was just the start of it. In 2013, they were basking in the glow of a fifth-placed finish in the top-flight, and taking points off the likes of Sevilla and Freiburg in the Europa League.
That trajectory is surely one which will give the Tigers board reason to trust Silva. But the manager himself should relish the opportunity. Winning promotion from the Portuguese second-tier is a good achievement. But repeating the feat in England would seriously enhance the 39-year-old’s CV.
Savvy work in the transfer market
It’s so far, so good in the transfer market for Marco Silva at the KCOM Stadium.
January acquisition Kamil Grosicki has impressed since his arrival, chalking up five assists from the wing. Loan signing Oumar Niasse also proved an inspired addition, netting five times in 16 outings.
With the likes of Evandro Goebel and Andrea Ranocchia also offering quality, he massively bolstered a squad which had entered the Premier League looking almost laughably under-strength.
He’s also proven a good negotiator on the other end of deals. It’s fair to say any manager at Hull is working on a fairly modest budget, so managing to get £10.2m out of West Ham United for the workmanlike Robert Snodgrass has to be considered good business from the Hull boss.
Having also brought in modestly-priced gems like prolific striker Brown Ideye and Manuel da Costa during his time in charge of Olympiacos – where Silva won the league title in his only season – it’s fair to say he knows his way around a well-priced deal.
That – perhaps more than anything else – makes him the right man for the Tigers next season.
Hull need stability
It’s fair to say the beginning of the 2016-17 season was somewhat tumultuous for the East Yorkshire outfit.
Steve Bruce had quit three weeks before the Premier League campaign began. Mike Phelan was left in the awkward situation of being caretaker boss before finally being given the post on a formal basis almost three months later.
Oh, and by the time opening day rolled around, they’d sold key man Mohamed Diame, released a couple of experienced squad players and signed – erm – a single senior player, from Peterborough United.
And in truth, it was that haphazard opening to the season which eventually condemned Hull to relegation.
What they need now is stability and continuity. Silva knows this squad, has had a taste of English football and knows how to act decisively and with savvy in the transfer market.
As for the 39-year-old, if he can become the man who brings Premier League football back to the 2017 UK City of Culture, and push on from there, it could well be a stepping stone to becoming one of European football’s most sought-after managers.
Whether or not he stays remains to be seen, though. Our traders make it 6/5 for Silva to be in charge on the first day of next season, while 8/13 says he’s packed his bags and left by then.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing