BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Football: Internationals: Wales  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Teams
Statistics
FA Cup
Eng Prem
Internationals
Champions League
Uefa Cup
Eng Div 1
Eng Div 2
Eng Div 3
Eng Conf
Scot Prem
Scottish Cup
Scot Div 1
Scot Div 2
Scot Div 3
Europe
Africa
League of Wales
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Sunday, 8 September, 2002, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Hughes shows Fergie touch
Wales' Ryan Giggs (left) and Robbie Savage close down Finland's Jari Litmanen
Ryan Giggs continues the Welsh link at Old Trafford
Mark Hughes has revealed how the influences of Manchester United and his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson are shaping his career as an international manager.

Hughes saw his reborn Wales side get their European Championship qualifiers off to a dream start in Helsinki on Saturday with a fine 2-0 win over Finland.

The win was Wales' sixth game undefeated, their best run of results for 15 years, as well as only their ninth away success in a decade.

But the man whose team only 18 months ago was being labelled the worst in Welsh history after nine games without a victory, explained how Ferguson has put him on the right track.

Hughes had two hugely successful spells at Old Trafford, the second under Ferguson, and he said: "Sir Alex has been a big influence. I obviously talk to him regularly about my players.


The players have reacted fantastically well to everything we have asked them to do,
Wales manager Mark Hughes

"But we have also had private conversations on a personal level regarding what is going on.

"I would like to think that I have taken something from all the managers I have played for, keeping the good bits and ignoring the bad.

"I'm new to this, but I am enjoying it and things are working, but we must still be careful and not get carried away but just see how far we can go."

The 3,000 delirious Welsh fans in the Finnish capital were singing about going to Portugal after a terrific display of running, tackling and hard-nosed professionalism.

But Hughes admits that he was hurt by the jibes about being Wales' worst ever at the beginning of his 21-game run in solo control of his country's fortunes.

"There was a time when we were labelled as the the worst Wales team ever because of the results when I started," Hughes added.

"But we have progressed. My pride was hurt, there was a a lot of things said that hurt."

But after witnessing smash-and-grab goals from John Hartson and Simon Davies that got Wales' Group Nine campaign off to a roaring start, Hughes has now lost only two of the last 14.

"The credit goes to the players. They are the ones who put their reputations on the line, they are the ones who put in the effort.

"I just hope that we are now giving them the best opportunity to do well for their country.

"They have reacted fantastically well to everything we have asked them to do, and they deserve their success."

Hughes and coach Eddie Niedzwiecki - and Mark Bowen when Birmingham City's needs have allowed - have moulded a team that thrives on unity and sheer defiance.

And some, like skipper Gary Speed - 33 on Sunday and now with 69 caps - are being asked to play out of position, in the Newcastle skipper's case at left-back.

Hughes believes Speed's willingness to take on a demanding role, which could easily expose him at the highest level, is a key factor in the current success.

"Gary accepting he's a left-back for us is crucial and underlines what I'm saying. He's a strong character and a big influence in the dressing room. And he's prepared to do that for the team.

"When other players see that a player of Gary's character and ability is prepared to play in a role like that, it has an effect on people.

"There are others in the team who are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the cause in that way."


Latest news

Pundit reaction

Recent results

Under-21s

AUDIO VIDEO

STATISTICS
Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales