Eric Lichaj did not play his traditional fullback position on Saturday but that didn’t stop the veteran defender was putting in a superb shift for Hull City.
The Tigers downed Stoke City 2-0 in EFL Championship play, claiming their fifth consecutive home win in all competitions. It also helped Hull snap a two-match winless run in league play which saw points dropped against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers.
Hull City manager Nigel Adkins was the first to applaud Lichaj’s performance as they shut down a Stoke City side who came into the match, two points behind them in the standings.
“For me Eric Lichaj was man of the match in the centre-half position,” Adkins said. He’s usually a full-back, we’ve asked to play in the middle and I thought he was phenomenal. His defensive attributes were excellent and we’ve kept a great clean sheet.”
Lichaj finished the match with an 80% passing completion rate, while completing a team-best nine clearances and six duels. Ultimately, Lichaj helped an injury-plagued Hull backline hold the Potters to two shots on goal out of their nine in total.
“Another clean sheet at home, that’s five wins at home on the spin and a good response from last week,” Adkins said. “I thought our defensive shape was excellent, Stoke spent a lot of money in the summer and they spent again in January. We’ve got a team and everyone is working so hard for each other. Individual egos, we haven’t got any, they are all on one side.”
With five centerbacks currently injured for Hull City, Lichaj could very well see more time out of his usual position. His 25 appearances in all competitions are the second most of any Hull defender this season, and will continue to rise should Lichaj stay fit.
The Tigers face a trip to Derby County on Feb. 9th knowing a win paired with other results will move them to eighth in England’s second-tier.