Hughes praises second-half display

01 May 2011 10:00

Mark Hughes hailed the composure of his Fulham side as they collected only a second away win in the Barclays Premier League since August 2009 with an emphatic 3-0 victory over injury-hit Sunderland.

The Black Cats, who ended a run of one point from nine matches with a 4-2 win over Wigan last weekend, began the brighter side at the Stadium of Light but failed to take their chances and Gael Kakuta put the visitors ahead in the 33rd minute. The decisive goal came just after the hour mark from Simon Davies and the winger then put the icing on the cake with Fulham's third 12 minutes later.

Hughes said: "I wasn't too happy with the first-half performance. We were 1-0 to the good but we understood we needed to play better in the second half to ensure we took the game away from Sunderland. Thankfully we did and we saw the game out very comfortably."

He added: "Obviously the second goal was key from our point of view and I never felt under pressure that we were going to lose the game.

"We haven't had that many wins on the road and sometimes you can be a little bit apprehensive and try to protect what you've got and that can lead to a problem but we didn't really demonstrate any tension in our second-half performance."

Sunderland were unable to field a single striker and their problems were immediately apparent as Ahmed Elmohamady and Steed Malbranque both missed the target from decent positions before the deadlock was broken at the other end.

Hughes added of Sunderland's selection problems: "We understood it might be an opportunity for us but it was difficult to prepare because we didn't know who was going to take corners or who was going to get on the end of things.

"We still had to get the job done. They played really well against Wigan with no strikers and scored all the goals in that period so we had to make sure we didn't take Sunderland's predicament lightly and think it was a foregone conclusion."

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce, who was without 10 players through injury, was left to rue poor play at both ends of the field.

He said: "We created the chances but we needed to take one. We needed to give ourselves that cushion and unfortunately the goals we gave away were horrific. Then we were chasing it and we didn't really have anything to chase with and it became one of those horrible afternoons."

Source: PA