Hughes hails Sunderland heroics

Creditable defensive display leaves Hughes frustrated

Hughes: 10 draws in 17 games

Hughes: 10 draws in 17 games

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Fulham manager Mark Hughes hailed the defensive display of Sunderland at Craven Cottage as the visitors dug out a goalless draw on Saturday.

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After a dreadful first half, Andrew Johnson's introduction breathed life into the game and on another day Fulham may well have taken all three points.

Chances were few and far between for Sunderland and they had a fantastic display from defensive duo John Mensah and Nedum Onuoha to thank for keeping the hosts at bay.

"I thought the amount of possession we had in the second half and the number of chances we had, in terms of blocked shots and opportunities, we were good value for three points," Hughes told Sky Sports.

"But, in fairness to Sunderland, I thought they defended really well and they were really strong and determined when they had to get bodies in front of the ball and that frustrated us.

"At the moment, things just aren't dropping in the box for us but it's only a matter of time before we start getting more points on the board."

Johnson

Johnson's Fulham career has been dogged by injuries but, after replacing the ineffective Diomansy Kamara, he rejuvenated the team and the home crowd.

Asked if the former England international should have been involved from the start, Hughes admits he must be cautious when it comes to Johnson's fitness.

He said: "We're trying to be careful with Andy, he's been out for a long time and obviously we've got a situation where we're missing key personnel in attacking areas.

"But we don't want to put too much onus on Andy too soon because we don't want him to break down again, so we'll introduce him quietly.

"His movement and desire was there for everybody to see, so that's a positive for us."

The result was the Cottagers' 10th league draw of the campaign and they remain one place above the relegation zone, but Hughes insists they are better than the table suggests.

"The guys are frustrated because obviously, performance wise, we're better than our league position but at the end of the day you've got to put points on the board.

"There's a lot of games coming up and things can change very, very quickly."