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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 21:23 GMT 22:23 UK
Hughes remains confident
A furious game in Cardiff disappointed Hughes
Wales manager Mark Hughes says his team can still qualify for the World Cup, despite a disappointing 2-2 home draw against Northern Ireland.

"It's not the start we hoped for, but we've not lost in two games, there's still a long way to go," said Hughes.

"Performance wise, the lads deserve credit for their second-half display."

Hughes refused to comment on rumours linking him with the job at Blackburn, saying: "I just want to get the players together as a group and go again."

You can't give teams a start like that
Mark Hughes
The manager admitted that the early sendings off of Robbie Savage and Michael Hughes disrupted his carefully laid gameplan.

"We couldn't get hold if the ball or into the game in the early stages," said Hughes.

"I've talked to Robbie and he's said there's no way it was a sending off - but it changed the whole complexion of the game.

"You make your plans for the game, but suddenly they all exploded.

"In losing two goals we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

"All credit to the team - especially in the second half - they dug themselves out of a hole, but you can't give teams a start like that."

Mark Delaney
We were pretty stunned in the first half
Mark Delaney
Wales defender Mark Delaney, who was substituted after just 27 minutes to make way for striker Rob Earnshaw, said that the game was surreal.

"We were pretty stunned in the first half and it took us a while to get going," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"I wasn't injured when I was taken off so I was a bit puzzled, but if things are not going well you have to change them."

Interview: Wales coach Mark Hughes

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