Slutsky - We Deserved Villa Draw
Hull City head coach Leonid Slutsky has said that we were good value for our opening day draw against Aston Villa based on a much improved second half showing.
Travelling to Villa Park for the first action of the 2017/18 Championship campaign, Hull fell behind after only seven minutes but a sweet volley from Jarrod Bowen had us back on level terms just after the hour mark and whilst the first half was poor, arguably we had the best of the second period and as far as Slutsky was concerned that meant a draw was fair on the day.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media following the game and his competitive bow as head coach, he explained about the second half comeback.
'We didn`t play very well at all in the first 15 minutes. We were very bad in that time and a lot of bad things were going through my head during that time. It was difficult because we have a lot of new players and some young players, and we came up against a very good and very solid team. Villa Park is a very famous stadium and it was a tough match, but we improved and controlled the ball much better. We improved dramatically after the break and came away with a deserved point. I am very proud of my team today. After the first 15 minutes, it was a great performance and I`m very, very happy. The players showed big heart, strong character and high level of skill.'
Pressed on his comments on the opening 15 minutes, he went on to say.
'Credit must go to Aston Villa. Yes we looked a little nervous, but Aston Villa were very aggressive and played well. The atmosphere of the stadium played a part in their positive start - it was like they had another two players! The first 15 minutes were very bad but the pleasing thing is that we recovered.'
With Bowen getting the leveller on the day, he obviously came in for praise from our Russian gaffer.
'He was our best attacking player in pre-season and it wasn`t a surprise to see him score a goal today. Yes, it was his first goal in a competitive match for Hull City, but he scored two very good goals in pre-season and he really deserved his place in the team and his goal today. I am very happy for him and he deserves a lot of credit.'
Many may have raised an eyebrow at the omission of Liverpool signing Kevin Stewart and that featured in the post game press conference.
'Kevin suffered an injury. but it is only a small injury. It`s not serious and he will be ready for our next match.'
Asked to reflect a little on his first competitive game in English football, he ended by saying.
'My first match in charge of Hull City, my first match as a coach in English football - of course I wanted a win. But, reflecting on the game, I think it was a good result and I am very proud of my players. The last five weeks have been like a fairytale and today was a continuation of that. After 75 mins I was very tired. Maybe I am a little bit too fat and not in good physical condition! Overall it was very exciting and I look forward to more. It is a very exciting time in my life.'