Peter Swan: Classy Hull City should not fear promotion run-in
TWO heavy defeats in three games have left some wondering if the wheels are about to fall off the Hull City promotion bandwagon.
I'm not one of those worrying though, and my message at the minute would be not to panic.
Fans will just have to accept that it's going to be a roller-coaster ride between now and the end of the season.
Don't forget, just a week ago we all left the KC Stadium purring at the performance of the Tigers as they had smashed Birmingham 5-2 with their best display of the season.
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Yet, either side of that brilliant display, both a 4-1 loss at Bolton and Tuesday's 4-2 defeat at Crystal Palace left us all asking questions as to what had gone wrong.
In my mind, you can start looking too deep into it, especially at this time of the season.
Bolton was a freak start, and at Palace, the first goal was a dubious penalty and another was a deflection.
Yes, City didn't play to their best in either game, and were beaten by better sides on the day, but it is far from a disaster, the league table with just 10 games to go shows that.
The Championship is an unpredictable division, and it will be like this all the way to the finish, so strap yourselves in for an exciting ride over the coming two months.
With 10 to go, every game looks capable of being a classic as almost every side City play will be either chasing promotion, the play-offs, or looking to avoid relegation.
Thankfully, I think that will make it easier for City. They are not facing sides who are playing free of any pressure, and that can be to their advantage.
The key is going out there and enjoying that pressure, as Palace did on Tuesday.
It was a scrappy start to the game, but once they got ahead and on a roll, the crowd roared them on and Ian Holloway's men looked to be enjoying every minute. That's the lesson to take from it for me.
City should not fear what is ahead of them now, they should soak up every second and go out and show their quality.
If I were Steve Bruce, my message would be simple to the players – don't panic.
I'd be telling my players to take a look at the league table and urging them to reflect on the fact that they have a great chance of playing Premier League football next season.
That league table tells City that they are one of the bests sides in the league. They have proved it over 36 games so far this season, so it would be a travesty if they were to now go into their shell for the final 10.
There's no point in getting too caught up in what went wrong at Bolton or Palace.
The fact is, when City play to their best, they are one of, if not the best side in the league.
It's all about being brave now and that means players doing what they have done all season long.
There were a few times at Palace on Tuesday when the ball was moved out wide for Robbie Brady and Ahmed Elmohamady, but when the balls came into the box, there was only really one man making a move to be in position.
That's not going to bring the goals City need, and when the Tigers are playing with confidence, they get the ball, pass it better than any other side in the league, and they get bodies in the box.
Bruce will know it is all about confidence and belief from hereon in. He has been involved in enough title-chasing campaigns to know what it's all about.
His players need to believe in themselves more than ever now, not shy away from responsibilities, and go out and prove they are where they deserve to be.
I think they can do it, despite those two recent big losses. It's all about having confidence, and I still have it in this team.