Hull boss Grant McCann refused to defend his misfiring players after they were hammered 5-1 by Stoke.
Braces from Sam Clucas and Nick Powell, as well as a penalty from Tyrese Campbell, did the damage as the Tigers slipped four places to sit just two points above the Championship relegation zone.
Leonardo Da Silva Lopes bagged a consolation for the visitors, but McCann’s struggling side have now not won in 11 league games.
“It’s never easy to speak when you’ve come off a defeat like that, but I’ll always front up to it and I’ll always support my players. But today I can’t,” admitted McCann.
“It’s very, very difficult for me to defend them [the players] today because we didn’t turn up.
“We didn’t show up, but that’s everyone. Not just the players, it’s us [the coaching staff] as well. We always look at ourselves first.”
Chants of ‘You’re not fit to wear the shirt’ and ‘This is embarrassing’ rang out from the visiting Hull supporters.
And McCann admitted: “The fans pay their hard-earned money to come and watch us, but to hear your own fans singing that is a first for me as a player and as manager.
“But you know what, maybe it will give the boys a sense of reality. These people are paying fortunes and we deliver that.
“It hurts a lot personally. My family was at the game today, my three boys. That hurts. I’m pretty low after that.
“We didn’t deserve anything from the game, we were disappointing. We were poor, in fact.
“Stoke could have easily won by more to be honest, so I’m very low.
“I think the biggest thing that’s hurt me today is that we got outmuscled, almost bullied.
“They got on top of us for a 10-15 minute spell and we just couldn’t cope physically.
“That was frustrating and disappointing. Ultimately, we lost the game in that spell when they got the three [early] goals.
“I couldn’t have foreseen a scoreline like that, we’ve had a really positive week.
“What I said to the boys is, ‘Look, in situations like this you need to find that inner-belief and you need to find your confidence’. Nobody else can find your confidence apart from yourself.
“And at the minute they’re very low on confidence. The mistakes we’re making is costing us goal after goal. We need to find a way.”
Stoke moved three points above the drop zone after extending their unbeaten run to four matches.
But Potters boss Michael O’Neill admitted victory was tinged with disappointment after captain Joe Allen was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a ruptured Achilles.
“I’m devastated for Joe, it’s a huge blow to lose him,” reflected O’Neill.
“And for him as well for what he had to look forward to in the summer with Wales. I’m devastated for him.
“We’re obviously delighted with the result, but it takes the edge off it [the win] when that situation occurs. It’s not easy for him.
“Our thoughts go with him, but obviously the club will do everything they can to look after him and make sure he’s back as soon as possible.
“The performance was very good, we got the performance that we’d asked for from the players.
“It was important to impose ourselves on the opposition – and I thought we did that right from the word ‘go’.
“We scored three good goals and could have scored more before half-time, and it was nice to add to the goals in the second half.
“I was disappointed to concede, it would have been nice to have kept a clean sheet.
“But overall it was a great day’s work for us in terms of the game, but Joe’s injury has taken a little bit of the shine off it.”
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