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Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fulham boss Hughes apologises after spat with Mancini


Mancini's handshake lacked respect - Hughes

Fulham manager Mark Hughes apologised for his spat with Manchester City counterpart Roberto Mancini after the sides' 1-1 Premier League draw.

Hughes angrily withdrew his handshake after Mancini failed to meet his glance when they came together at full-time.

"I apologise if I offended anyone," said Hughes, who was sacked at City and replaced by Mancini in December 2009.

"Maybe I'm old-fashioned but I didn't think he offered his hand with any sincerity today."

Hughes, who also sent some stern words in Mancini's direction, added: "I was well beaten 4-1 by City and Roberto in the reverse fixture at our place and I offered him my hand and admitted they were the better side."

We're not happy with the draw, it's another two points lost

Man City boss Roberto Mancini

Mancini, who saw his side's already slim title hopes suffer another major setback, said he did not know what the problem was.

"I don't know, I don't know what he said," the Italian revealed. "I shook hands with him, but I don't understand what he was saying. There's no problem as far as I'm concerned."

City took the lead in the first half at Eastlands through Mario Balotelli's fine right-foot strike, only for Fulham to level soon after the restart when Damien Duff met Andrew Johnson's right-wing cross to equalise.

Hughes lavished praise on his side but admitted he was frustrated to be leaving his former club with only a point after an impressive performance.

"In the first half we were in control of the game and conceded against the run of play and it's difficult when you go behind against such a good team," the Welshman added.

"But we've got character and desire in abundance and we showed that in the second half. In fact we're a little disappointed because I thought we could have won it.

"We have been away at some of the hardest places to go to this season and haven't got our rewards and that was in the back of our minds. We feared that today but weren't prepared to allow that to happen.

"City are playing every three days at the moment but they've got the resources to cope with that because they are a top club and they've got to get used to that.

"They looked like they were struggling at times to keep tabs on us and the desire of my team helped with that."

Mancini admitted it was a difficult afternoon for City, who now lie 10 points behind league leaders Manchester United, having played a game more than their rivals.

"We're not happy with the draw, it's another two points lost," the Italian reflected. "It's normal to have some tiredness when you play every three days, but it's difficult with four or five players missing.

"We played with three strikers today [Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez] but it didn't work well. You have to play well with the rest of the team and move well, but it just didn't work.

"In this moment we need all our players available. Every three days, every three days, it's very hard.

"But our mentality must be different if we want to improve in this way. Every game we want to play at 100%, but it does make it difficult when we can't change four or five players every game."

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