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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 22:47 GMT
Hughes ponders Wales future
Dejected Wales boss Mark Hughes left a question mark over his future after they failed to qualify for Euro 2004.

Hughes admitted he would have to hold talks about his next move after the 1-0 defeat in the play-off against Russia at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

"We'll sit down and talk about the situation," Hughes told BBC Sport Wales. "I'm contracted for another two years, but both the Football Association of Wales and myself have to think about the direction we go in.

"There's always speculation about managers and I haven't done what I set out to do, which is to qualify for the finals of a major championship. It's up to others to make the decision on my future.

"I'm just being realistic. We have to look at the game, review it as we always do, then regroup.

"It's a difficult time to face the press, when you win you take the plaudits and when you lose you take the brickbats."

Hughes lamented a series of missed chances against Russia, but felt the ultimate blame for qualification failure lay with Wales' stretched resources.

Wales fans were left in despair after the Russian defeat
If Mark went now it would be like in 1993 and we would be back to square one
Wales captain Gary Speed
"John (Hartson) pulled a shot wide and Ryan Giggs hit a post, but it's all ifs, buts and maybes. Those chances could have changed the course of the game, but who knows?

"I'm as down as the players and all the rest of the back-room staff, that's who I feel sorry for.

"The team worked hard and I'm proud of them but we were not up to the mark.

"We're up against quality sides and our resources have been stretched this campaign.

"We must keep working and getting the structure in place to improve.

"There are a lot of disappointed players in the dressing room, but we'll pick ourselves up and we'll be ok."

FAW secretary David Collins admitted after the game that Wales' failure to make it to Portugal would cost the association 3.5m.

And fans will fear that the resources to keep Hughes - who has been linked with Manchester United and Tottenham - could be lacking.

Financial considerations led to the dismissal of manager Terry Yorath after the failed 1994 World Cup campaign, a move that set Welsh football on the back foot for nine years, and Wales skipper Gary Speed fears a repeat of that situation.

"We all want Mark to lead us into the next World Cup, if he went now it would be like in 1993 and we would be back to square one," said Speed.

"We all feel the same right now, that we've failed over a 10-game campaign, but we just have to keep improving."




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