Hull City manager Mike Phelan has told The Mirror that he was disappointed to see midfielder Mohamed Diame leave the club for Newcastle over the summer.
Hull meet Newcastle in the EFL Cup quarter-finals this evening, and will be hoping to inflict a second straight defeat on the Magpies after their 1-0 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
The Tigers drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion over the weekend, and tonight's clash will see one Newcastle player make his first return to the KCOM Stadium since leaving over the summer.
Hull City manager Mike Phelan applauds their fans
Midfielder Mohamed Diame played 57 times for Hull following a 2014 move from West Ham United, and scored 14 goals for the club, including the winning goal in last season's play-off final to send Hull back to the Premier League.
The 29-year-old was heading back to the top flight with Hull, but took the surprising to drop back down to the Championship by completing a move to Newcastle United, after the Magpies activated his release clause.
Diame has yet to really play to his best at Newcastle, as he's scored just twice and notched only one assist in all competitions this season, but he'll be looking to knock his former club out of the EFL Cup tonight.
Newcastle's Mohamed Diame celebrates scoring
Ahead of the game, Hull manager Mike Phelan has spoken about Diame, telling The Mirror that he felt the midfielder would have made a difference this season, but there was nothing Hull could do to keep him.
Phelan added that Diame is a 'very influential footballer', and whilst he's had problems with injuries over the years, Phelan thinks Diame can supply 'a touch of magic', meaning Hull were disappointed to see such a quality player leave.
Hull City manager Mike Phelan
”You never want to lose your best players, and Mo is one who could have made a difference for us,” said Phelan. “We wanted him to stay here, but he had a get out clause in his contract and he decided to take up that option and move to Newcastle. Of course, it was a blow that he took that route, but there was nothing we could do to hold onto him.”
“Mo did a great job here, and there’s no question that he is a very influential footballer. Look at the way he goes about his work, and he is a very impressive individual. He’s physically very capable- a big, strong and powerful guy who always gives his all for the team. Sure, he had his ups and downs with injuries, but you counter that because he is someone who can supply that touch of magic and create something out of nothing. We were all disappointed to see him leave because he is quality,” he added.
Do you think Diame should have stayed at Hull?