Marco Silva: The masterstroke signing of the season

Adam Brown
Contributor

Marco Silva’s appointment in January raised a few concerns amongst fans and pundits. Since then, the former Olympiakos manager has shown why Assam Allam was right to gamble on the Portuguese manager. 

The Tiger’s frustrations started early on when the board were showing a lack of support for Steve Bruce. Leaving by mutual consent, it was left to the former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson to step in with a lacklustre squad for the upcoming Premier League season. Whilst things didn’t start too badly with the Tigers handing Mike Phelan the job on a permanent basis, it was unsurprising to see form eventually drop.

On one hand, you may think that as Phelan wasn’t provided with the resources, he deserved more time to prove his worth. But should owners in the Premier League wait around when it’s clear that change can lead to an instant impact?

 

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It was clear that the ‘Soccer Saturday’ team of pundits didn’t fully agree with Hull’s decision to replace the English manager with a man who had not been in management long, yet has had success at both Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos.

However, Silva’s appointment may turn out to be the smartest of the season by the Tiger’s chairman. During his time at Olympiakos, Marco Silva didn’t just win the league, he destroyed it; 28 wins, one draw and a loss. The Greek champions won the league by 30 points.

But not just that, Olympiakos performed strongly in the Champions League. They were handed a difficult group with Arsenal and Bayern Munich, yet that didn’t stop them generating three wins and narrowly missing out on qualification to the latter stages. Effectively, Hull’s owners had seen something many hadn’t even considered.

 

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An often undervalued quality of a manager is their ability to attract players. Whilst not always considered, it’s definitely one of the most important aspects when recruiting a new head coach.

While Marco Silva was not experienced in the Premier League, he was in Europe – and this meant that his reputation was much higher than Mike Phelan’s on a continental scale. Kamil Grosicki was a stand-out performer for Poland at the Euro’s, whilst N’Diaye and Ranocchia are two players who took steps down in terms of club reputation, moving from Villarreal and Inter Milan respectively.

This was the Portuguese manager’s first move which has contributed massively to his success – securing the signatures of players who wouldn’t look out of place in the Europa or even Champions League.

In relation to Manchester United, would Zlatan Ibrahimovic be at Old Trafford if Jose Mourinho wasn’t? Similarly, when two clubs are competing for the signature of a player, it could be the manager’s influence which is the deciding factor between two teams of similar reputation.

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As well as proving his ability to lure big players to the Tigers, Silva has also shown that his results at Olympiakos were no fluke or result of a weaker division. The Greek champions were always known for making their home stadium a tough place to go – and now the KCOM stadium is too. Hull are unbeaten in their last nine home fixtures, winning seven. In fact, it would be fair to say that Hull have been performing like a side who should be competing for a place in Europe since the appointment of Marco Silva.

The main reason for Hull’s improvement in form is down to their organisation. Hull rarely concede more than one goal at home; they’ve conceded two goals in just two of their last nine games. But as well as being difficult to break down for even the likes of Liverpool, we can refer back to the signings in January which have provided Hull with a credible counter attack and threat from wide areas.

In similarity to West Brom, the Tigers are also a threat from set pieces. The two sides are very similar in comparison; they look to contain teams through solid organisation and score from resulting counters and set pieces. The additions of Alfred N’Diaye and Andrea Ranocchia were vital to Hull’s spine and complimented  the more counter attacking signings of Lazar Markovic and Kamil Grosicki – making the Tigers a dangerous team for any side in the Premier League.

Silva has worked wonders in a short space of time and if Hull can keep around the man who will inevitably be highly sought after in the summer, they could see themselves established in the Premier League for years to come – much like the pattern of Stoke City and the Baggies. That Tony Pulis method certainly works.

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40 games unbeaten at home with 33 wins is an astonishing record – and something which needs to be highlighted; the Portuguese manager deserves a lot more credit, and it’s shocking that the Soccer Saturday panel were so dismissive of his appointment.

While it may be harsh, the Hull City board have proven that sometimes you have to make a controversial decision if the right man is available who can establish a club for years to come. It is the long term future that matters.

 

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