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Page last updated at 18:45 GMT, Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Mark Hughes rebuffs Fulham doubters after Stoke win


Hughes salutes 'huge' Fulham display

Fulham boss Mark Hughes hit back at those doubting his side's battling qualities after victory over Stoke edged them out of the relegation zone.

Pressure had mounted on Hughes after fans reacted angrily to Fulham's 3-1 home defeat by West Ham on Boxing Day.

But following the 2-0 win at Stoke Hughes retorted: "The pressure builds because we feel we are a better side than our league position suggests.

"We have shown we can battle and scrap, maybe some thought that was beyond us."

Fulham moved up to 16th in the Premier League, one point clear of 18th-placed Birmingham, following their third league win of the season - their first win away from home for 26 games.


Two fine strikes by defender Chris Baird in the opening 10 minutes gave Fulham the platform they needed to go on and secure the three points.

And after holding out against a second-half onslaught, Hughes was full of praise for his players.

"Satisfaction is the emotion; we had a real intensity to the game, before and during," said Hughes.

"Our focus was excellent and we got the job done.

"It's always a difficult place to come, Stoke, it's a place where they put you under pressure and ask questions and if you don't have the answer it becomes very difficult but each and every one of my players stood up to the challenge.

"There were some huge performances, it would be wrong to highlight individuals because collectively the team were magnificent."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was less than happy with the way his side had given Fulham a two-goal head start and said the slack opening 10 minutes had cost them the game.

Pulis blames defeat on 'flat start'

"We gave them two goals and then were chasing the game," explained Pulis.

"We have given them a start that they couldn't have hoped or prayed for.

"In the first 10 minutes we started flat but from then on we were pressing and in the second half I can't remember our goalkeeper having anything to do.

"We have had lots of opportunities that we haven't really put away."

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see also
Stoke 0-2 Fulham
28 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Tuesday's football as it happened
28 Dec 10 |  Football
Tuesday's football photos
28 Dec 10 |  Football
Fulham 1-3 West Ham
26 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Fulham lack cutting edge - Hughes
26 Dec 10 |  Premier League

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