Apr 23, 2017
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Sam Clucas’ all-action display ensures deserved victory for 10-man Hull against Watford

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Hull City took one step closer to promotion as they beat Watford at home, by a 2-0 scoreline, despite only having ten men for the majority of the match.

Marco Silva has done an excellent job since arriving at the KCOM Stadium and his side are currently outside of the relegation zone.

It was important that they won on Saturday as relegation rivals Swansea City managed to pick up a crucial three points against Stoke to keep the pressure on.

This performance underlined the team spirit and belief that exists at the club, as they pulled together after having Oumar Niasse sent off.

The undoubted star for the home side on Saturday was Sam Clucas. It was an incredible performance from the midfielder as he was aggressive in winning the ball back and assured in possession.

During the match, he completed five tackles in the middle of the park, showing why he was selected to start in central midfield ahead of Tom Huddlestone. This was more than any other player on the pitch.

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After the red card to Niasse, the 26-year-old appeared to be a man possessed as he covered every blade of grass and played a huge part in negating his side’s disadvantage.

In possession, he was certainly no mug, as he finished the match with a pass completion rate of 75%.

Although this is slightly lower than his season average, he was playing in a team with ten men and his assuredness in distribution led to many promising attacks for his team, especially in the second half.

It would have been easy to be rushed in possession and to mentally tire as the game progressed. However, Clucas maintained a clear mind and his team-mates looked to give the ball to him at every opportunity.

Clucas completed 75% of his attempted passes throughout his involvement.

His entire performance was impressive and he deservedly got man-of-the-match. However, the highlight was the second goal to clinch the points for his side.

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It would have been a nervy end to the match had Hull only secured a one-goal lead, but Clucas popped up in the 71st minute to net a crucial strike for the hosts.

When the ball came to him on the edge of the area, he controlled it nicely with his chest, before striking into the top right hand corner.

It was an excellent piece of skill and emphasised the technical ability that he possesses. He attempted three shots during the match in what was a box-to-box display of the highest quality.

Clucas struck his side’s second goal of the afternoon in the 71st minute.

At the beginning of the season, Hull were written off as the worst prepared side in Premier League history. Nobody gave them a chance of staying up, but now they are in a great position to secure their top flight status.

A lot of credit will be given to Marco Silva if he completes the job, but the players deserve praise too. There were question marks about whether some of them were good enough for the league, but they have raised their game in the top flight.

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Clucas has stepped up a leave every season since 2013-14 when he was playing in League Two with Mansfield Town. His rise has been incredible and shows that there is quality in the lower leagues if a club is willing to look for it.

The midfielder has had to switch from playing on the wing to a more central role, but it is a move that has allowed him to take a step forward as a player.

His work rate, ability to win the ball and confidence in possession mean that he perfect for a box-to-box midfield role. It was an excellent performance on Saturday and he will attract interest during the summer.

Featured image: All rights reserved by Hull City

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Jake Jackman

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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