Phelan reluctant to set Hull points target

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Mike Phelan says setting a points target would only pile the pressure on his Hull City players, who sit bottom of the Premier League ahead of their Boxing Day clash with Manchester City.

Hull are on a run of one victory in their last 15 top-flight matches following their disappointing 1-0 defeat at West Ham last week.

Phelan saw plenty of cause for optimism in that performance but is reluctant to set in stone the number of points Hull will require to avoid relegation.

"The only negative of last week was the result. The performance was terrific, but you don't always get what you deserve," he said.

"The players have had a rest but, as a group, we're all looking forward to the next game against Manchester City on Boxing Day.

"The target is to win football matches. Setting points targets is sometimes the worst thing you can do - it puts pressure on.

"If we can look at it as another game, then hopefully we won't put too much pressure on ourselves and we can pick up the points."

Despite propping up the table, Hull are only three points adrift of safety and captain Michael Dawson is hoping for some festive cheer at the KCOM Stadium.

"We certainly haven't felt sorry for ourselves after West Ham," he added. "Our focus was on Man City straight away when back in training.

"We just haven't had the rub of the green really. Unfortunately football can be cruel like that at times.

"The Premier League is hard, but we deserve to be here after what we did in the Championship. We will keep on fighting.

"I hope a result on Boxing Day can kickstart our season. Obviously we know what they're all about, the kind of spending power they have, but obviously I hope Christmas can bring us a bit of fortune.

"It will be tough against a side like Man City, but we'll do what we always do, which is stay together and keep fighting."