Mike Phelan accepts confidence has crumbled in his Hull City ranks after a fifth consecutive defeat dragged the Tigers into the Premier League’s bottom three for the first time this season.
Since beginning the campaign with back-to-back wins, City have now taken just one point from the last seven games to rapidly slide down the table.
A 2-0 defeat at home to Stoke City on Saturday was the latest damaging set-back. Xherdan Shaqiri’s spectacular brace was enough to earn the Potters a first away win since March and a crowd of just 18,522 voiced their frustrations at the full-time whistle.
Phelan stood by a team selection that began with Will Keane playing as a lone front man but admitted his side are deep in a rut ahead of travelling to Bristol City in the EFL Cup tomorrow night.
“Defeats are hard to take. We have to put it into perspective, we are new at this level, really new,” he said.
“We have to take everything on the chin and that’s difficult. Confidence is, I think, a little bit low. We’re probably finding our feet a little bit. Maybe all of us have got carried away with the start we’ve had. Our reality has come about and we all have to understand that it’s going to be difficult. We find ourselves now up against it but there’s a long way to go.”