Marco Silva faces far greater challenges as Hull City head coach but his reign is off to a pleasing start as late goals from Abel Hernandez and Josh Tymon sealed a 2-0 win over Swansea City. There was little between the two Premier League strugglers under new management until the Tigers found the attacking quality required in the closing stages to book their place in the FA Cup fourth round. Silva, who only had two training sessions to plan for this fixture after succeeding Mike Phelan as boss, could be satisfied with his introduction to English football.
Tymon's first professional goal was a lovely moment for the 17-year-old but lacked the significance of Hernandez's opener. The Uruguayan had not scored since August 20, an uncomfortable wait for a striker who netted 22 goals to fire Hull to promotion last season. Hernandez has missed the last two months through injury but a goalscoring comeback has promising omens for the second half of the season. A clean sheet should not be sneezed at, either. It had been 22 games in all competitions since the Tigers last kept an opponent at bay, a fact that had undermined any notion of progress in the Premier League.
A winning start to Silva's time in charge of Hull was overshadowed by a crowd of just 6,608 at the KCOM Stadium. A supporter boycott against the club's owners Assem and Ehab Allam made all the headlines, underlining that a change in manager will not piece back together a fractured club. In context, this was the Tigers' lowest crowd since a League Cup match against Hartlepool United in 2006. Michael Dawson's shoulder injury was Silva's greater concern, leaving doubts over the captain's fitness ahead of Tuesday's EFL Cup semifinal at Manchester United.
7 -- Threadbare resources ensured Marco Silva was not blessed with many options but he made the changes that won his side the game. A greater urgency in the second half came with key substitutions.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Eldin Jakupovic, 8 -- Hull City's Cup king was at it again, pulling off a string of saves, most notably from Ki Sung-yueng, to earn a much-needed clean sheet for his side. Pushing his claims for a Premier League recall forcefully.
DF David Meyler, 7 -- The loss of Ahmed Elmohamady to the African Nations Cup leaves a gaping hole at right-back but Meyler filled in again admirably. Defensively strong and also pressed on to support attacks down his flank.
DF Michael Dawson, 6 -- A fixture that ended with him in clear discomfort after a heavy fall damaged his shoulder. A steady performance but was fortunate not to see an early lapse punished by the Swans.
DF Jake Livermore, 7 -- A midfielder by trade but injury problems have Silva looking at Livermore as potential ball-playing central defender. Always comfortable on the ball and looked to start moves deep on the defensive line.
DF Andy Robertson, 6 -- Silva is keen to see his full-backs become primary attacking threats and that should suit City's young Scot. A reasonably quiet game here but diligent enough to help keep Swansea at bay.
MF Markus Henriksen, 6 -- Swansea were continually given problems by the Norwegian's runs in behind and twice his crosses from the right could have brought a goal before he was replaced.
MF Tom Huddlestone, 7 -- The pick of Hull City's outfield players, Huddlestone showcased his passing range to the new head coach. Helped his side to control spells of the game and find the urgency required after the interval.
MF Ryan Mason, 7 -- A return to the starting XI for the club-record signing and this was much more promising with Mason back in his preferred central role. Enjoyed a greater influence on the game, pushing his side forward.
MF Sam Clucas, 6 -- With Mason given a central role, it pushed Clucas out to the left flank, a position he held all of last season. Came close to his first goal of the season when denied by Kristoffer Nordfeldt's excellent stop.
FW Robert Snodgrass, 7 -- Picked out a lovely pass for Tymon to go on and score, while also probing Swansea with his dangersous set-pieces. A day after West Ham saw a bid rejected, this suggested he was unfazed.
FW Adama Diomande, 6 -- The loss of Dieumerci Mbokani to the Afrcian Nations Cup could give the Norwegian a run in the team but this was an indifferent display. Struggled to give Swansea many problems overall.
FW Abel Hernandez, 7 -- Back in the side after two months out and opened the scoring with a crisp finish. Very promising.
MF Shaun Maloney, n/a -- A rare appearance for the Scot and he was savvy enough to pick out Hernandez for a smart assist.
DF Josh Tymon, n/a -- A first goal in senior football for the 17-year-old, firing low into the bottom corner with the last kick of the game.