Marco Silva reached 100 games as a big-league boss this week – and showed why he is destined for the very top.
A ton up, he has 66 wins, with Sporting, Olympiacos and the Tigers, losing just 18 times.
Such a record is impressive — especially after taking over Mike Phelan’s beleaguered side, in the face of critics who branded his appointment an outrageous gamble.
Four months ago he claimed Hull, in the bottom three since October, needed a miracle. But, he added, miracles do happen.
Thanks to five victories and a draw from six home games — he hasn’t lost a league match at home for over three years — last season’s play-off final winners are out of the drop zone and in with a real chance of staying up.
Silva remains cautious.
“Now we need to improve our away form,” he said after the 4-2 demolition of Boro on Wednesday.
They have had six defeats and a draw on their travels under Silva, who has more than doubled the points total he inherited in half the games Phelan bossed.
It isn’t yet a miracle, but Silva’s reputation has been enhanced. The question now is whether Hull can keep him, after giving a contract until the end of the season.
So, what is he doing right?
Silva arrived with a reputation for taking down-and-out cast-offs and turning them into players.
Seven January signings, five on loan, have revitalised the squad.
Oumar Niasse — so far from playing for Ronald Koeman at Everton he wasn’t even given a changing-room locker — has five goals in six games. Liverpool misfit Lazar Markovic is providing assists and guile.
Combined, they have a transfer value of £33million.
Winger Kamil Grosicki, signed from French side Rennes, is running himself into the ground, doing good work on and off the ball, turning defence into swift counter-attack.
Andrea Ranocchia, borrowed from Italian giants Inter Milan, is upwardly mobile in defence.
Even established players frozen out by Phelan, such as the currently-suspended Tom Huddlestone, have been revived.
Silva, who banned apple crumble from the Tigers’ canteen, is challenging minds as much as their bodies — detailed tactical plans are drawn up and micro-managed on the training ground.
Last season, his Olympiacos side romped away with the Greek title, winning it by 30 points after being victorious in 28 out of 30 games. He learned English in Athens, preparing the ground for his next ambition – and there was disappointment when he left.
Prior to that, at Sporting, he won the Taca de Portugal before being drummed out by the owners, who wanted to hire Jorge Jesus.
At Hull, he cancelled days off and proceeded to blitz his players with information.
Compatriot Jose Mourinho described him as “such a good coach”, saying in January they “sold, they bought, they got players on loan. They got players that Marco knows well from Portugal and Greece. They are already connected with the manager’s ideas. I think he was clever.”
Hull have indeed accelerated.
Scoring four against Boro was “a good evening”, said Silva, adding: “We got three important points, a second win in a row. Since I have been here, that was our best game.”