Hull City veteran George Boateng believes Phil Brown has become a better manager since Adam Pearson returned as club chairman last month.
Brown’s job was thought to be on the line at the time of Pearson’s appointment as his team had slipped into the bottom three of the Premier League.
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But the situation has turned around with a four-game unbeaten run and Boateng feels the influence of Pearson, who has brought a pragmatic approach to club affairs, has filtered down.
Boateng, whose recent recall to the side has coincided with the good November run, said: “What has done the club very good recently is the change of the chairman.
“The change of the chairman has ultimately resulted in the manager managing the team better. He has said that too.
“Therefore the team has had better results and better performances over the past few weeks. It has been great for the team and everybody involved.
“Also for the manager, because he has had some stick, some bad press – I think he has handled that period well.
“The way to handle it is to get results and he is under no illusions results keep you in a job.”
Boateng, 34, is now back in favour after being dropped following the 6-1 thrashing at Liverpool on September 26. He was left out of the squad altogether for four successive games before being brought back for the vital Stoke victory four weeks ago.
However, it was the return of another player in that same game, the club’s record signing Jimmy Bullard, that sparked the on-pitch improvement.
“As a team you always need someone to give you a lift and that was Jimmy Bullard,” added Boateng, who hopes to feature at former club Aston Villa.
“I think Jimmy’s return was perfect for the club, in combination with the new chairman and the manager’s new ideas and positive feeling. That resulted in the team picking up more points.”
Bullard’s outstanding form has helped transform the mood at the KC Stadium and enabled Brown to weather the storm.
Brown reached a landmark on Friday some thought unlikely a few weeks ago – the third anniversary of his appointment – and he admits Bullard has been inspirational.
Brown said: “I don’t think much has changed in terms of the belief at the football club; personnel has changed.
“Obviously the chairmanship has changed and we can now utilise Jimmy Bullard. Jimmy has come into the camp and turned things around in terms of the way we play.
“It gives you a lot more confidence when you have got the ability to pass the ball the way you want to pass it and retain possession the way you want to retain it.
“You can obviously cause opposition problems because of the way you retain the ball and I don’t think we had that at the start of the season.”
Yet while Brown may have reason to breathe easier after seeing his team climb to 15th in the table, he is determined not to let standards slip at Villa Park.
He added: “I think if anything there is more pressure on us because of the way we have addressed the situation in the last couple of weeks. We expect now to go out and play some good football.
“Obviously the opposition will have something to say about that but I think the confidence we have rekindled in the last couple of weeks needs to be brought to the table.
“We are coming into this game with renewed confidence and form and that is the best way to go into any game, certainly at Villa Park.
“The opposition have got problems all over pitch playing against Aston Villa but we are up to the challenge. In terms of the challenges of recent weeks we have responded to everything that has been thrown at us.”
Brown might also have another reason to thank Bullard – for finally laying to rest the ghost of his trip to Manchester City last season.
Brown has never been allowed to forget his infamous on-pitch half-time team talk at Eastlands last Boxing Day but Bullard’s humorous reprise of it as he celebrated his equaliser there last week may have brought closure.
“I thought it was fantastic,” Brown said. “It drew a line under it for me. A lot has been said since Eastlands last season but hopefully that is the last of it.”