Phelan sidesteps Eto’o talk

Mike Phelan deflected talk of Samuel Eto’o joining Hull City by insisting the club need to improve their defending following Monday’s 3-1 loss at West Brom.

The Tigers picked up just one point during the festive period, losing to Manchester City and the Baggies, after holding Everton to a 2-2 draw.

While Eto'o, who currently plays for Turkish side Antalyaspor, is rumoured to be a target for the struggling Premier League side, Phelan jokingly played down thoughts of his signing.

He said: "Can Samuel defend corners? I haven't heard anything, but it would be an unbelievable challenge if Samuel Eto'o wanted to come to Hull City."

He did, however, admit that Hull are on the lookout for reinforcements.

"But that's the least of my worries. We have to look to improve in certain situations. Every position at this moment is up for grabs.

"We've been trying to put things together and analyse other players to come in. And we're still trying.

"So if we can get some over the line then that would be great because everybody needs that bit of help."

Hull were unfortunate to see their 21st-minute lead against West Brom, through a Robert Snodgrass goal, overturned after the break as Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley and James Morrison all scored, to leave Hull in 19th place after 20 matches.

Phelan added: "It's extremely deflating because we were good in the first half. We took the lead and looked comfortable.

"But all of a sudden it spun on its head because we don't do the basics. The basics are defending well at set pieces, and that has been our downfall.

"I can't fault any of the players for that but we have to learn and grow up quickly at this level. You can't gift opponents the opportunities that we do. It's just impossible."

The 35-year-old Eto'o, who began his career with Real Madrid, has also played for Barcelona, Inter and Chelsea among others. His most recent move saw him join Antalyaspor in June 2015.