Hull City 2, Leeds United 0
Leeds United manager Neil Warnock is desperate for the January transfer window to come in order to bolster his squad – new owners GFH Capital were present at the match yesterday – and the veteran boss knows Hull are the benchmark.
“I think Hull are a one-off, I don’t think there’s another team like them in the league,” he said after their 2-0 defeat at the KC Stadium which left Hull second.
“They are by far the best organised team in the league, they play the same home and away. They have a good squad with decent replacements.
“I feel the frustration that the fans feel with our squad, but we’re all glad it’s Jan-uary coming up.
“I’m trying to get new players in, the new owners are supporting me and want to bring players in.
“Whatever we do, we’re not going to cope with Hull and Cardiff, but looking at the other teams, we don’t have much to fear. We need to get our own house in order.
“Hull are where they are and I can’t see many overtaking them.
“They play with one up front and have a desire, they don’t give goals away and they have a good recipe for success.”
It was perhaps Leeds’ most anaemic performance of the season, with just one half-chance of note on an afternoon when 17-goal striker Luciano Becchio was benched because of concern over a thigh problem.
Both managers now have work to do in the transfer window, with Hull boss Steve Bruce eager to keep David Meyler, on loan from Sunderland, while Warnock has a number of deals he wants to tie up, mainly extending the contracts of Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas, while bringing Michael Tonge back from Stoke.
Hull’s brilliant December ended with a fifth win in six games and Bruce was left hoping for Premier League football, just a year after being sacked by Sunderland.
The performance represented an impressive end to the year for the Tigers, and in particular manager Bruce, rebuilding his reputation in the second tier after losing his job at the Stadium of Light.
Goals from Corry Evans and Meyler did the trick for him, and both camps saluted the home side afterwards.
“For someone who has won seven promotions as a manager, that’s a fine compliment from Neil,” Bruce said. “I hope it’s not an attempt at skullduggery from him!
“I have enjoyed the last five or six months here, though, and all I wanted to do was get back to work. I was out of work a year ago, so I’m really pleased.”
City have taken 16 points from 18 in December, with their only slip coming in their failure to see off a dogged Leicester City on Boxing Day.
“It’s been a huge month for us. Six games, won five, drawn one,” Bruce said.
“I couldn’t have wished for a better return. We looked like we wouldn’t score in the first half but we went about our business properly.”