Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists he retains “100 per cent belief” that his side will avoid relegation from the Premier League despite dropping into the bottom three with defeat at Hull after a run of 10 matches without a win.
Villa's woeful lack of goals - they have scored just 12 in 25 matches in the top flight this season - raises serious doubts over whether they are equipped to survive but Lambert says his side will beat the drop - even if they have to set aside his principles and “win ugly.”
“Everybody will have to show character, from me down,” Lambert said. “It will be a test for everybody.
“I've told the players that they have 13 cup finals between now and the end of the season and there are two ways of looking at the situation we are in - you either meet it head on or you buckle under.
“The dressing room right now is as flat as it can be but you can't feel sorry for yourself - you have to go into the next game and win it.
“We may have to win ugly. We try to play the right way but this is not a time for pretty football. We just have to win.
“I still believe 100 per cent that the club will be fine. There is no doubt that we have good players, we are just missing a little bit in the final third.”
Villa fans voiced their frustration at the end, calling for Lambert to be replaced as manager and displaying a large 'Lambert out' banner.
“I can't do anything about that,” Lambert said. “Banners are part and parcel of the game. The crowd pay good money to come and watch the game.
“You hope the players are not affected, you hope they are big and strong enough to handle that. It is part of being at a massive football club where the expectancy levels are high to get results.”
Hull manager Steve Bruce hailed the impact of new signing Dame N'Doye, the Senegal striker he bought from Lokomotiv Moscow after protracted deadline-day negotiations at a bargain price of €3 million (£2.2 million).
N'Doye set up the opening goal for Nikica Jelavic before marking his home debut with his first goal in Hull colours.
“For all the hard work that went into it (the transfer negotiations) it was well worth it.
“He took a significant wage cut to come to play in England because he wanted to show his skills and there are not many who will do that.
“He has got a real physical presence. I thought he was fantastic and lets hope his goal is the first of many.”