Grant McCann hailed the performance of Keane Lewis-Potter after the Hull City starlet tore Preston North End to pieces on a memorable opening day victory.
Lewis-Potter scored one and created one in City’s thumping 4-1 victory at Deepdale on Saturday to see the Tigers top the Championship table in their first outing since securing promotion,
Despite falling behind in the opening 10 minutes, City took control of the game and deservedly equalised when Richie Smallwood cut the North End defence open with a sumptuous pass to find Lewis-Potter inside the box, and he poked past substitute goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.
City had to be patient at the start of the second half, needing Matt Ingram to deny Tom Barkhuizen to keep themselves on terms.
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Skipper Smallwood then crashed in a fine second in front of the traveling City fans via a deflection and the post, before the 20-year-old Lewis-Potter then turned provider for Josh Magennis to poke him a third.
Andy Cannon came off the bench late on to combine with fellow substitute Tom Eaves to add a fourth in stoppage time to cap a remarkable first day, which left the Tigers head coach delighted.
“I thought we were excellent from the first minute all the way through to the 95th,” McCann said.
“We were disappointed to concede in the way that we did but the response from the team was outstanding.
Keane Lewis-Potter #11 of Hull City celebrates scoring a goal to make it 1-1
(Image: Simon Whitehead/News Images)
“We saw the togetherness and the unity of the group so much last season, and we saw it again to come back into this game. I thought we looked in control and we looked dangerous every time we went forward.
“The run Keane made to put away the first goal was outstanding and something we’d worked on during the week.
“Him and Mallik Wilks are really good at that and offer so much clever movement off the ball, and it was a great pass and a great finish for the equaliser. Keano has then put in a great cross for Josh Magennis to get his goal. It was a top performance.
“They changed their shape a little bit at the start of the second half but once we got our wide players around the sides of their diamond I thought we were really effective and obviously I was pleased with the outcome.
“Our substitutes had a good impact as well. Matt Smith came on and looked good, Andy Cannon came on and scored so they both had tremendous debuts.
“You know it’s your day when a late substitute comes on and scores from another substitute back-heeling it from the line – I’ve never seen that from Eavesy before! It was a great way to end the game.”
McCann was also full of praise for both sets of supporters, with Tigers fans making up 1,800 of the 12,452 crowd at Deepdale, their first viewing of their side live for 17 months.
“It’s amazing to have fans back in the stadium. The atmosphere before the game from both sets of fans was fantastic, but to be able to celebrate a result like that with our fans at the end was outstanding,” McCann beamed.
“They’ve got a team that they can be proud of with a lot of Hull-born players and that doesn’t come around very often. Hopefully they will continue to support us like that throughout the season because they were outstanding.”