Fulham defender Aaron Hughes reiterated the words of his Manager when assessing the Team’s 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford – and insists the Whites could have taken more from the encounter.
Despite taking an early lead through Damien Duff’s smart strike, Fulham found themselves 3-1 down at half-time following goals from Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa and Rafael.
An impressive response from Martin Jol’s side followed, and when Nemanja Vidic turned in an own goal, Fulham cantered forward with Mousa Dembélé drawing two fine saves from the hands of David De Gea and Bryan Ruiz going close at the death.
“We were a little bit disappointed with the result today,” Hughes told fulhamfc.com. “I thought we played quite well in the second-half, but I suppose the damage was done. We weren’t happy with how we conceded the three goals, but we came out after the break and gave it a real go.
“We got a bit fortunate with our second goal, but it gave us the boost we needed and we could well have got another. Gradually we started to see more of the ball, and began to create chances.
“It would have been easy to let our heads drop, but it was important that we didn’t. We showed character to that, because at 3-1 it could have got a lot worse as they have a lot of quality and players that can punish you.
“They showed in the first-half just what they are capable of, and Robin van Persie’s goal was superb. After the second goal, you could tell that they had a bit of an edge about them. As a result, they went and got a third, so it was important that we didn’t allow them a further goal.”
In pushing United back, Fulham gave their hosts a real scare and almost completed what would have been another famous comeback.
“When you go behind at Old Trafford, it’s always an uphill battle,” added Hughes. “We knew that if we could get another goal then we could perhaps swing the momentum of the game.
“That proved to be the case, but unfortunately we just couldn’t get a third. We went close, and to be fair, their ‘keeper made three or four good saves to keep us out – denying Bryan right at the end.
“You expect United to have large spells of possession at Old Trafford, that’s a given, but at the same time, there were periods of the game that we controlled too. On another day we could well have come away with something, especially from the last 20 minutes or so.
“We showed a lot of character today, but that is no surprise, we know that we have that. There’s a lot of experience in the team, and it’s a group of players that work very well together – it’s something that we have shown many times before.”
Despite the defeat, Hughes is confident Fulham can bounce back and build on what has been a positive start to the 2012/13 campaign.
“We did really well against Norwich last weekend, and there’s a lot we can take from today too,” said Hughes. “It’s been a good start, but there’s a long way to go yet. Like I always say, it’s about taking one game at a time.
“We’re solid at the back, have players with a lot of creativity in midfield and up front we can score goals – it’s a nice balance. With that in mind, looking ahead, I think we could have a good season.”