Curtis Davies has warned his Hull City team-mates they will risk “a pasting” if they show a lack of belief against Premier League leaders Manchester City in the League Cup quarter-final.
The Tigers suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Derby County on Friday – their first loss since September – which saw them surrender top spot in the Championship table.
Manager Steve Bruce took the blame for the setback but Davies insists it is down to the players to react as they look to spring a second upset of the season against Premier League opposition, having knocked out Swansea City in the previous round.
“It is frustrating but it’s the first time we have lost in a long while. We need to put things into perspective. And we need to go again on Tuesday against Manchester City because it will be a big game in terms of how we react,” Davies told Hull’s official website.
“It won’t be the most important match for our season, but if you go there with your heads down you could be on the other end of a pasting.
“Having been part of an FA Cup final team I know how important these competitions are to the fans. We will be going there with the aim to upset the odds.”
City bounced back from consecutive defeats to Liverpool and Juventus with a 3-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday, and are now back on top of the league table following Leicester City’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
Goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who has played both League Cup games so far this term, replaced the injured Joe Hart in the win over the Saints and he wants his team-mates to replicate that performance level against Hull.
“I think it was my best performance in this shirt. I think we played really well. We played with a lot of calm,” he told the club’s official website.
“We need to play the next game like today.”
City may well opt to rest Sergio Aguero after the striker was taken off against Southampton after taking a kick to his heel, but David Silva and Wilfried Bony are in line to start after both returned to action from the bench on Saturday.
Hart, Eliaquim Mangala and Samir Nasri are all out with hamstring problems, while Vincent Kompany (calf) and Pablo Zabaleta (knee) are unlikely to play any part.
Hull, who have not beaten City in their last four attempts, could see Robert Snodgrass make a welcome return from a long-term knee injury and will have Andrew Robertson back from a ban.
Michael Dawson was also suspended for the Derby defeat but is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.