Hull rose to the giddy heights of third place in the English Premier League with a 1-0 win over West Ham on Sudnay, but manager Phil Brown insists that they are keeping their feet on the ground. Michael Turner gave Hull their third successive victory, and their fifth in eight games, when he headed home in the 51st minute at the KC Stadium.
It is a remarkable achievement for a team playing in the top flight for the first time in their 104-year history, and widely tipped for relegation. But Brown believes Hull's ability to rattle opponents with set pieces needs to be augmented by more incisive play in the final third if they are to continue their fine form.
"I think we've got to provide a little bit more quality on the ball because we can't survive on set-pieces alone," he said. "But my biggest problem before the game was maintaining the success. People were talking about bubbles bursting but my simple answer to a bubble bursting is to blow another bubble! There's people dancing in the dressing room so we don't have to do a warm-down any more. It's a good atmosphere at the moment and long may it continue."
Brown, whose side have now beaten four London teams this season after previous victories over Arsenal, Tottenhan and Fulham, was full of praise for Turner. But he described calls in some quarters for the 24-year-old to get an England call as unrealistic. "He's not a Premier League player yet," Brown said. "Michael's attracting a lot of attention for his performances with clean sheets and winning goals. But he couldn't do that without his partnership in defence and the midfield in front of him."
Hull's stunning form has taken them above Arsenal, Manchester United and Aston Villa into the UEFA Champions League places and, while they may not stay there, there is now no doubt the Tigers can hold their own. In contrast, disappointed Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola admitted his strikers needed to start making the most of their chances to avoid slipping down the table.
Carlton Cole and Matthew Etherington were both guilty of missing good chances and Zola said: "When we create chances and play the way we're playing we need to score and we didn't do that. Right now that's the missing part of this team, and we need to work on finishing because we're creating a lot. It's down to the players but I totally trust their ability and I'm sure we'll get it right soon."
Zola went on to question referee Chris Foy's decision to disallow a first-half effort from Herita Ilunga, who took the ball from Bo Myhill as he was taking a goal-kick, then overhead-kicked it into the net. Zola added: "I spoke to the referee and he said it was dangerous play. I'm not convinced about that because he didn't touch anybody. But apart from that we had other occasions when we could have done better.
"I don't think we deserved to come out of that game with nothing. But that's football - sometimes it's not very logical. It's hard and disappointing but we can't do anything about it."