To The Wire

Monday 1 October 2012 11:43

Martin Jol’s Team stood toe-to-toe with Barclays Premier League Champions Manchester City for 87 minutes on Saturday, before Edin Dzeko broke Fulham hearts with a late winner at Craven Cottage.

For Fulham defender Aaron Hughes, to lose a point so late in the game was a bitter pill to swallow after defending so valiantly against some of the game’s brightest attacking talent, including one player who Hughes clearly holds in high regard.

“When you’ve defended as hard as we did on Saturday against a quality side like Manchester City, it’s very disappointing to concede so close to the end of the game,” Hughes told “I thought we did okay in the first-half. Obviously they saw a lot of the ball but I thought we were comfortable.

“They’re difficult to defend against and you use up a lot of energy, not just physically, but also mentally; making sure you’re in the right place, looking over your shoulder and communicating with your team mates.

“In the second half we couldn’t get hold of possession and you could say they deserved it because of how much of the ball they had. When you do get possession you want to just hold on to it to get a breather.

“From our point of view, to defend well for that amount of time and concede a goal so close to the end of the match was very disappointing. I have to say David Silva is arguably as good a player as I’ve ever come across. He was superb on Saturday, and really made City tick. He’s a World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain and you can see why – but that’s the quality that we were up against.”

The disappointment of coming away without a point on Saturday speaks volumes for Fulham’s impressive record against the Barclays Premier League elite at Craven Cottage in recent years. The 32-year-old is hoping the result will prove to be a rare home defeat over the course of the season, with his attentions now turning to targeting an away win on the South Coast this weekend.     

“At home we’ve shown that we can compete with any team in the League,” Hughes explained. “Hopefully we can do that again this season because we’ve made Craven Cottage a difficult place for other teams to visit.

“It’s another hard away game against Southampton this weekend and it’s always difficult against teams that have just come up. They’ll look at their home games as crucial in their goal of retaining their place in the top flight.

“It will be tough, but if we defend as well as we did on Saturday we will be fine. Hopefully we can do what we did against Wigan and come away with another good result away from home.”