Hull City manager Mike Phelan said he was relieved to see midfielder Robert Snodgrass and forward Dieumerci Mbokani emerge unscathed from Sunday’s 2-1 win over Southampton after injuries forced him into bringing them on.
Both the players were coming back from injury, and Phelan said he would not have sent them on if Hull did not have to make two first-half substitutions.
Hull, who had not won in the Premier League since the opening day of the season, started badly, conceding a penalty that Charlie Austin converted in the sixth-minute.
“There’s always a sense of ‘here we go again’ when you have a start to the game like we did, and then losing two players to injury forced our hand into putting Snodgrass and Mbokani out there early,” Phelan said.
Mbokani (hamstring), has not played since Oct. 1, and came on less than 10 minutes into the match after forward Abel Hernandez was forced off with a groin injury.
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Snodgrass (ankle) missed Hull’s last match against Watford and replaced Will Keane midway through the half after the 23-year-old injured his knee, scoring to draw Hull level before assisting Michael Dawson’s winner.
“Neither of them had done much in terms of training leading up to the game because of their own previous injury problems and it was a risk putting them out there so early,” Phelan added.
The win is Phelan’s first since he was given the Hull job on a permanent basis last month and the manager was pleased his team showed character to come from behind.
“Our first goal came at the right time, and then we got the second one so soon afterwards and I thought we grew in stature after that,” he said, adding that his relief was tempered by concern over the injuries to Keane and Hernandez. “We’ll have a look at them… but medically the signs aren’t very good. They were both crazy injuries with no contact or reason — just the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Hull, who are 17th in the 20-team table, travel to bottom side Sunderland on Nov. 19, when the league resumes after the international break.