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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 September, 2004, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
Hughes relieved with draw
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING GRP 6
Wales manager Mark Hughes
Wales manager Mark Hughes says he was glad to come away from Azerbaijan with a point after a poor display.

"I wasn't happy with the way we played, especially in the first half," Hughes told BBC Sport Wales.

"There was a marked improvement after the break and I thought we'd win when we got the opening goal.

"But the free kick was a lifeline for them and they picked up from there. Rob Earnshaw nearly won it at the end, but I'm grateful to get a point from that."

Hughes was keen to pay tribute to the improvements made by the Azeri under Brazilian manager Carlos Alberto, after Wales cruised to two easy victories against them in Euro 2004 qualifying.

"Take nothing away from Azerbaijan, they are a decent side," said Hughes.

"They are playing with the confidence of an unbeaten run and had a good crowd behind them.

Craig Bellamy battles for the ball in Baku
We were fortunate to get the draw
Wales captain Gary Speed
"We had a good passage of play to create our goal and I felt that we would go on from that to be the stronger side.

"But Sadikhov had tried his free kicks a few times and had got the range. We needed to keep it out, but these things happen in football.

"Fortunately we've got the chance to stay together as a group before Wednesday's game with Northern Ireland.

"In that first half we didn't get on the ball enough or make enough angles for ourselves.

"We were relying on Paul Jones putting long balls in to John Hartson and you can't do that all game.

"We need to review our performance and improve."

Wales captain Gary Speed backed his manager's opinion that Wales were lucky to come away with a draw.

"Any draw away from home is usually good but we didn't play well," said Speed.

"If we had played like them, we could have won, but we were fortunate to get the draw."






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