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Hughes salutes a job well done

Mark Hughes 0809

Mark Hughes 0809

Mark Hughes saluted his UEFA Cup heroes after City outgunned Champions League drop-outs Aalborg 2-0 and gave themselves a great chance of claiming their third Danish victims of the campaign to reach the quarter-finals.

The Blues' best European performance since beating Schalke was crowned by a fine pair of first-half goals from Ecuador striker Felipe Caicedo and, almost inevitably, the irrepressible Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Even the failure to pile on the misery for Aalborg with the bigger score they deserved barely seemed to matter.
Manager Hughes said: "We had chances to score more goals but the order of the day was a positive result and a clean sheet. That's what we've been able to achieve, so from that point of view it's been a good performance.

"Aalborg are a good side and they always try to play the game in the right way but tonight we just had a little bit too much for them. We broke well and that was always going to put them on the back foot.

"And we got two great goals - a great turn and strike from Felipe and then a similar goal from Shaun, who is playing extremely well at the moment. There are a lot of players in the side really enjoying their football.

"Ideally, you would like to put the game to bed in the first leg to give you the option to possibly rest players in the second. we haven't got that option because the tie is still very much there for both teams.

"Given the way we play - we always have a goal threat - and that Aalborg have to come out and be positive, I'm sure we'll have opportunities to score in Aalborg. If we do, it will be very difficult for them to overcome us."

Hughes was as perplexed as everybody else in the City of Manchester Stadium over the Luxembourg referee's failure to award Robinho a penalty when he was blatantly tripped after a dazzling series of stepovers.

He said: "I've seeen it again and it should have been a penalty. I just think Robby's feet were going a little bit too quick. the referee didn't understand, he was mesmerised by Robby's feet and forgot to look for the tackle.

"It was a mistake by the referee but all in all we're delighted and we're in good shape for the second leg."

Hughes will take nothing for granted when the sides meet again next Thursday in Denmark. He said: "They are an experienced side in Europe, more experienced than us, and they beat Celtic as well as Deportivo.

"We're in good shape, now we've got to make sure we get through. Once you reach the quarters, you sense it could be an opportunity to do something great. But we are not getting ahead of ourselves, just enjoying the experience."

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Pablo Zabaleta 0809

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Mark Hughes 0809

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