Mike Phelan hoping cup run can boost Hull Premier League form
Mike Phelan hopes Hull's EFL Cup run can lift the "g loomy" atmosphere caused by the Tigers' slide down the Premier League table.
Five successive league defeats has dropped Hull into the relegation zone after a bright start, but the Tigers' 2-1 win at Bristol City on Tuesday night took them into the last eight of the EFL Cup for the second successive year.
"We tried to change it a little bit to get a smile back on everyone's faces," Phelan said after celebrating his first win since being handed the Hull job on a full-time basis.
"It has been quite gloomy when you're getting beat week in and week out.
"But you can see in the dressing room that a win's a win and it does mean a lot.
"It gives you confidence to start again, because we all know the Premier League is unforgiving at times. We showed that we can win football matches again so let's move forward."
Hull have some crunch league games coming up against teams around them at the bottom of the division.
And Phelan said: "You never know what the reaction is going to be. You can only look forward to trying to win the next game.
"We've done that today and for the next couple of days we can enjoy ourselves.
"We can look forward to Saturday a little bit differently."
Both Hull goals came from central defenders as Harry Maguire - with his first for the club - and Michael Dawson converting Ryan Mason corners either side of half-time.
Bristol City prompted some late anxiety after Lee Tomlin scored, but Hull held on for a first win since beating Stoke in the previous round of the competition.
"It was a torrid last 10 minutes but it just shows you the Championship has a quality, and that is the game is never over until it's over," Phelan said.
"I thought at the end our experience in the Championship last year got us through it and we defended really well.
"We were in control of the game at 2-0. But you always expect that ball to come in your box at certain times and it was good for us that we dealt with it."
Robins head coach Lee Johnson praised his players after making nine changes from the side which beat Blackburn in the Sky Bet Championship last weekend.
"I am very proud," Johnson said. "We competed really strongly with a young group against a side that got promoted and the last five or 10 minutes we had them completely on the back foot.
"If you take the set-pieces out of it - and they are very big and physically strong in their upper bodies - I thought we outplayed a really good side.
"Although I am disappointed not to have won the game and be in the next round, I think it showed the club in such a good light moving forward.
"I hate losing, but in the bigger picture I am really pleased because games like that will be invaluable for the experience of the younger players."