Phelan questions impotent attack

Mike Phelan says Hull need to improve their attacking instincts following the 1-0 loss to Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Monday night.

The 54-year-old also bemoaned the manner of the goal conceded – as Gaston Ramirez headed home a Viktor Fischer corner on 60 minutes.

After the game, a disappointed Phelan told Sky Sports: "The performance was definitely short from an attacking point of view.

"In the first half, we repelled a lot of their advances towards our goal but we stood pretty firm and you have to do that at certain times.

"When we tried to play the ball forward, we gave the ball away and we had very few targets to hit to get up the field and that resulted in the 0-0 at half-time.

"What really disappoints me is that we concede a goal when we don't really have to as a set-piece and we all have jobs to do. We go through them day in, day out and on matchday and when we switch off a bit and don't do that responsibility well enough, then you get punished."

Phelan acknowledged his side need to keep steadily improving to avoid a long and difficult relegation scrap.

"We've got to do more and we've got to do better and we've got to stay focused on what our job is. We're in no worse of a spot than we were in at the start of the game but we know it's going to be a hard and difficult season," he added.

With a number of players injured including Moses Odubajo, Abel Hernandez and Will Keane, the Hull boss knows he faces an uphill battle to score goals. Striker Dieumerci Mbokani is also currently sidelined as he serves a three-match ban.

"We've got injuries, players are certainly playing out of position at times and we're having to chop and change quite a lot.

"It is very difficult to be an attacking force, but when we defend like we know we can defend and at times today when we had to, we did really well.

"When we went a goal down, we suddenly sprang into action a little bit and Middlesbrough started to slacken off a little bit but we created some chances."