Sport Soccer

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Hughes wants instant improvement

Aaron Hughes played as a substitute in Fulham's 2-0 loss to Southampton at the weekend
Aaron Hughes played as a substitute in Fulham's 2-0 loss to Southampton at the weekend

Aaron Hughes admits Fulham need to improve on their weekend display ahead of two big games for the west London club.

Fulham host champions Manchester United on Saturday, before which a place in the fifth round of the Capital One Cup is at stake when they travel to Sky Bet Championship side Leicester on Tuesday night.

Northern Ireland defender Hughes, 33, came on as a half-time substitute as the Cottagers crashed 2-0 at in-form Southampton three days ago.

That result actually flattered the visitors, who could have been four or five down by the time Hughes was introduced to stem the flow.

"Sometimes that happens, they put us under a lot of pressure and it was hard for us to get out," he told the club's official website.

"Sometimes, when you come up against a side like that, you've maybe got to take a chance now and again and try something, but it just wasn't happening.

"It was better in the second half but it's an uphill struggle when you are 2-0 down.

"But we will look forward now - that one has gone. We'll look at it, see where we went wrong and look forward to the next week. It's a big week with two big games."

Saturday's appearance was Hughes' first in almost a month after he suffered a thigh injury, and he is now in the frame to start at the King Power Stadium.

"No-one likes to be injured and sat on the sidelines watching," he added. "It was pretty frustrating, especially for someone like myself - touch wood I don't get injured often.

"This one seemed to drag on longer than I hoped. But I worked hard to get back and I'm pleased to be involved again."

Another player battling to prove his fitness is striker Bryan Ruiz, who managed 81 minutes at St Mary's despite carrying a back injury.

He said: "I still have some problems with my back and we're working on that. It's getting better - hopefully in the next couple of weeks it will be 100 per cent."

Boss Martin Jol will also check on the fitness of captain Brede Hangeland, who missed out on Saturday with a nerve problem in his leg.

Press Association

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