Wales coach Hughes believes his men are still in with a chance


  • Other Sport
  • Friday, 10 Sep 2004

CARDIFF: Wales' World Cup qualifying hopes are still very much alive despite the disappointing 2-2 draw against Northern Ireland here on Wednesday, manager Mark Hughes insists. 

Hughes, who has been linked with the vacant managerial job at Blackburn, was in a sombre mood after his side had drawn their second successive qualifier following the 1-1 game away to Azerbaijan on Saturday. 

But he said that they would travel to Old Trafford for the next Group Six match against England next month still believing they can win. 

“We have to feel we can win against England, that will be our aim even though we have not played well here and have only got the two points from our opening two games when we clearly wanted more,” said Hughes. 

“If we don't think we can win at Old Trafford there is no point in us even turning up. We now know we need to win an away match somewhere to make up for this, and we have to win all our home games. 

Wales had Robbie Savage sent off after a clash with Michael Hughes, who was also red carded while striker David Healy was dismissed as he celebrated putting Northern Ireland 2-0 up, adding to the earlier Jeff Whitley strike.  

On Savage's first dismissal in his professional career, Hughes said: “I have talked to Robbie and he has said there is no way it was a sending off - but it changed the whole complexion of the game. 

Savage said the decision was “an absolute joke.”  

“To be sent off for that is an absolute joke. He could have broken my leg. There was a reaction and I swung my arms but then the guy came in with a bad tackle. I reacted and I got sent off.'' 

“I am totally gutted. To get sent off in the first 10 minutes and then to realise I am going to miss the biggest game of my career (against England) is devastating.'' – AFP 

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