Hughes relieved after away win
Aaron Hughes was pleased to see Fulham finally get the away win monkey off their backs early in the season at Wigan on Saturday afternoon. The Cottagers have earned a reputation for being strong at home and poor on the road, and their first three away trips this season brought defeats at Manchester United, Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham. But they picked up three points on Saturday at one of their most successful away grounds, the DW Stadium, with Hugo Rodallega and Damien Duff scoring in a 2-1 victory. Defender Hughes said: "It's something that a lot people remind us of quite a bit that our away form is not great but I think if you look at it closely, we've had a lot of draws away from home, so we maybe haven't won as many as we should but I certainly don't think we've lost any more compared to any other team. "To come here five games in and get an away win is good for us and we're pleased with it. Our home form had always been good and we want to keep that." It is the second season in a row Fulham have broken their away duck in Wigan, with Martin Jol's team winning 2-0 last October, while they have not lost on the ground since 2005. The result brought the Cottagers their third victory of the season after home wins over Norwich and West Brom and lifted them up into the top four prior to the Sunday games. Hughes said: "It's pretty early so I don't think anyone's going to get too carried away but it's a good way to start the season, nine points after five games is not a bad return. We'd have taken that and it gives us something to build on in the coming months." Rodallega was the star turn with a goal against the club he left in the summer but the creator was Dimitar Berbatov, who again showed what a valuable signing he looks set to be. The Bulgarian was a peripheral figure at Manchester United last season but is very much at the centre of things at Craven Cottage. Hughes said: "He showed some lovely touches, including the cross, and he held the ball up well. It's not just the goals he brings, it's everything else around the box and in his general play. He's a very important player for us." Fulham's start is even more impressive given the players they lost in the summer, including star names Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele to Tottenham right at the end of the transfer window. Jol is happy with the way Berbatov and Rodallega have bedded in but knows there is more work to do if Fulham are to maintain their good start with tougher fixtures ahead. The manager said: "Last season we had four wins away from home and five draws, and that is not bad but it's certainly not good. "And, of course, with our problems, it could have been a big problem because five midfielders left the club, a couple of whom I wanted to keep. "I think Dimitar Berbatov gave us the quality and Rodallega gave us the pace so we will try to get the team into shape in the next couple of weeks." Wigan had chances but did not find the net until Arouna Kone's close-range effort in injury time, leaving boss Roberto Martinez frustrated and demanding better. He said: "We have to defend better and we have to make it harder for the opposition. We started quite poorly on the ball, our possession was a little bit pedestrian, it was easy to defend. Fulham got a goal and that helped the way they wanted to play. "From then on they showed their experience, how well organised they are. In the second half I thought we reacted really well and we adjusted well and we took control of the game but still Fulham looked too dangerous."
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