Hull relishing top-of-the-league clashes

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Hull begin the most distinguished four days in their history tomorrow with manager Phil Brown far from intimidated by the challenge ahead.

The high-flying Tigers host Chelsea at the KC Stadium tomorrow before travelling to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday.

Many would expect this to be the week when Hull's bubble bursts after an outstanding start to the season which has seen the promoted side rise to third in the Barclays Premier League.

But after four successive victories, three of them with clean sheets, Brown insists his side will not fear Chelsea.

Brown said: "It is a massive game for us because, one, it is the next one and, two, we have won four on the bounce.

"Confidence levels are sky high but what that manifests itself in is us looking forward to the game rather than being frightened.

"At the start of the season people would have been fearing this fixture but now all of a sudden we're not, we're looking forward to it."

Last weekend's 3-0 victory at West Brom has taken the Tigers' points tally to 20 after nine games, just three behind leaders Liverpool and level with Chelsea.

Brown said after the game that he would be happy with 20 points from 10 games, a comment which was picked upon as meaning he had already written off the Chelsea game.

However, Brown claims he was merely trying to compartmentalise the season in saying he would have been happy with 20 points from the first 10 games and 20 from the second.

He said: "I haven't written this game off, far from it. I'm really looking forward to it.

"We needed a good start, and we have had a great start. You can say that takes pressure off these games but I'm not going to say that.

"I think it puts pressure on because now people are expecting us to get something from a game against Chelsea.

"It is going to be a big test for me in terms of tactics and it is going to be a big test for us in terms of the physical and mental and ability side.

"We'll be trying to make it as difficult as we can for their great players to play.

"It's going to be a tough game but we'll be ready for it, more so because of the fact we have got four results on the bounce."

Hull have already beaten one of the Premier League's 'big four' this season having won 2-1 at Arsenal last month.

Now Brown is hoping for another prized scalp.

He added: "I think there is a mentality that the top four are impregnable.

"But having gone to the Emirates and won, it's given us hope that if we bring our best game to the table we might get something from the game.

"If you had a financial league table and put them up against us you would have to say we are overachieving at the moment, but I don't see it as that.

"It feels as though it is part of the season's work to do what we have been doing.

"They fully expect to play great football all the time and hopefully we will have a say in the matter."

Chelsea last visited the KC Stadium in the Carling Cup 13 months ago and thrashed the then Championship side 4-0.

That was long before Hull put together the run which eventually culminated in their promotion and Brown warns his side are now a different proposition.

He said: "We gave a good account of ourselves for 35 minutes in the Carling Cup last year but then the quality in front of goal was the difference between the two teams.

"However, since those days we have come a long way. We have strengthened in a number of departments and in terms of the attitude and mentality of the players."