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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 22:55 GMT
Hughes welcomes tough workout
Simon Davies and Robbie Savage attempt to gain Wales possession
Wales were forced to battle hard in Cardiff

Wales manager Mark Hughes admitted his side did not play well against Bosnia-Herzegovina despite creating a new record of nine games unbeaten.

The home side twice had to come from behind to draw 2-2 with Bosnia-Herzegovina in Cardiff on Wednesday night, with a late John Hartson goal maintaining their fine run.

"I accept that we didn't play particularly well but I was obviously pleased with the result," Hughes said.

Now we need to force home the advantage when we play our next match in Cardiff

Wales manager Mark Hughes

"Bosnia caused us the sort of problems we can certainly expect when we play Yugoslavia in our European Championship game next month.

"This game has enabled us to be better prepared for the big games ahead.

"Our problem was that the energy level was not as high as it has been in previous games.

"It is important to our style and it makes a difference when we are not up to the pace, teams can then cause us problems."

Hughes praised Cardiff youngster Robert Earnshaw, who scored Wales' first equaliser in the first half.

"It was a great goal," Hughes added. "He's always trying to impress whenever he plays. He's such a bubbly character."

Former Wales international Dai Davies also praised the Welsh performance.

"At international level it's not easy to go so long without losing, therefore this team must have some talent.

"Until recently we couldn't hang onto a lead. What they did last night was come from behind twice. That means there is creativity, some talent and a lot of character," he said.

Before the match, Wales heard the newly-renamed Serbia-Montenegro - formerly Yugoslavia - had only drawn in their Euro 2004 qualifier with Azerbaijan, a result that improved Wales' chances of qualifying.

"I wasn't that surprised by the result but it has certainly given us a boost," Hughes said.

"Azerbaijan are more than capable of causing teams problems. They certainly did it to us when we played them in November, and now they have done the same to Yugoslavia. They are no mugs.

"Obviously we'd half-hoped, half-wished for such a result, and it's gone our way.

"Now we need to force home the advantage when we play our next match in Cardiff against Azerbaijan next month.

"That will set us up perfectly when we have to go to Yugoslavia a few days later."

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Wales manager Mark Hughes
"They caused us problems and I wanted them to"
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See also:

13 Feb 03 | Wales
12 Feb 03 | Wales
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