Steve Bruce let his anger over referee Chris Foy’s performance in Hull’s 2-0 loss to Chelsea overflow in his post-match comments, but the dressing down he gave the card-carrier could well have been born out of his side’s horrific run of late.
Hull sit second bottom in the Premier League with 13 points from their opening 16 games and are creeping ever closer to relegation favouritism – they are currently 2/1 – during a run of woe only Leicester can top.
It is nine league games since the Tigers last collected three points and their start to the season is the worst they’ve made in the top-flight, even worse than the start they made in their relegated season.
During their slide goals have been at a premium, scoring just four in that time. Their profligacy in front of goal is made all the more curious by the transfer business Bruce completed in the offseason, bringing a host of attacking bells and whistles, including a record fee spent to sign Abel Hernandez.
However, the Uruguayan has started just one of the last five games and last netted in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal which started this run without a win.
Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez are looking like desperate deadline-day loan deals rather than considered strategic acquisitions and Bruce seems muddled in how he wants the side to play as a result.
The hectic Christmas period is now a key to the Tigers’ season, with games against Sunderland and Leicester vital to the side’s ability to turn a winless run into a winning one and start the climb up the table.
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