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Hughes impressed by Fulham spirit


Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes

Fulham boss Mark Hughes praised the resilience of his side as they twice came from behind to draw at Aston Villa despite another own-goal blunder by John Pantsil.

Pantsil had the misfortune to score his third own goal of the season when he inadvertently headed in a centre from Villa winger Stewart Downing. Hughes admitted Pantsil was affected by the setback and took him off shortly after half-time.

But he saluted the comeback from his team as goals from Andrew Johnson and Clint Dempsey cancelled out the error from Pantsil and Kyle Walker's effort, and he said: "You always review every goal you concede to try to erase any little defaults. But I was pleased with the way the team came back twice and kicked on and in the end we could have taken three points."

He added: "John was disappointed at half-time. It was affecting him so I made the early decision to take him off.

"It was a difficult ball for him to deal with but he got it wrong and it can affect your confidence. We picked ourselves up from the own goal and restricted Villa to very few opportunities in the first half.

"It was a great finish by Andrew Johnson and we then really took the game to Villa and asked questions of them.

"We went behind again but we kept going, weren't to be denied and showed great quality."

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In contrast, Villa boss Gerard Houllier felt his side paid the penalty for a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal. Houllier must be fed up with playing the Cottagers as they scored a last-minute goal earlier in the season to force a 1-1 draw.

Houllier said: "We dropped two points. Had we got a second goal at 1-0 the game would have been over. But we have to be disappointed with ourselves, we have to blame ourselves.

"I'm disappointed with the result but not the performance. At times we played good football and are improving. But we need to be more clinical and ruthless."

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