Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Hughes has the last laugh

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes branded himself and Tony Pulis "two daft Welshman" after having the last laugh in their feud as Fulham claimed a 2-0 win over Stoke to completed a Barclays Premier League double over the Potters.

Hughes and Pulis fell out in September over an Andy Wilkinson tackle on Moussa Dembele, refusing to shake hands in that Carling Cup tie or in last month's league game at the Britannia Stadium. But despite another tempestuous affair between the two sides, the two managers buried the hatchet.

"We were just two daft Welshman a couple of weeks ago," said Hughes after watching Clint Dempsey's double edge his side closer to safety.

Fulham were full value for their victory, in which top scorer Dempsey netted his eighth and ninth goals of the season. The second came from the penalty spot after Ryan Shawcross had bundled over the American, earning a straight red card.

Hughes hailed the contribution of Dempsey, saying: "Sometimes you think Clint's not having an impact on the game, but he's had a positive influence in virtually every game he's played, with goals created or scored.

"It was a great finish for the first, and a great touch to create the penalty by himself. He always has a positive impact."

Fulham's win was their third in their last five league games, a run which has come just at the right time after they had been sucked into the drop zone.

"Good win - pretty straightforward in all fairness," the Cottagers boss said. "We got the ball down, played our stuff and got the goals at good times. It was quite comfortable."

"We just knew we had to get over a period where results didn't quite go for us. We just needed to get key personnel back, firing. A great result against Stoke away from home, which really galvanised us, made us understand as a group what we needed to do to win games in this very difficult league.

"From that point onwards, we've shown a lot of great qualities that gives me confidence that will obviously sustain the team."

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