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Welshman praises defenders for keeping star striker quiet

Fulham boss Mark Hughes was pleased with his players as they delivered what he called a "professional away performance" in their 0-0 draw with Newcastle United at St James' Park.

Moussa Dembele came the closest to snatching all three points for the Cottagers as he smashed a second half volley onto the crossbar, but neither side did enough to merit vcitory in a gritty encounter.

"We are pleased with what we've produced today. I think it was important that we came here and were positive and I thought we were," he told reporters after the game.

"We took the game to Newcastle in the first half and played most of the game in their half. We didn't want to be dictated too and we stood up to the challenge. In the second half we expected a response from Newcastle and we had to deal with a few more long balls and a few more tough tackles.

"In our view it was a very professional away performance."

Much talked about striker Andy Carroll played the full 90 minutes and former centre-forward Hughes spoke about how his side looked to null the effect of the in-form front man

"He's the focal point of Newcastle's attacking threat, we had to counter that and I thought our centre halves were excellent. Hangeland's got a physical presence to match Carroll's and I thought it was a good battle between them," said Hughes.

"He's physical and has outstanding ability in the air which is always a bonus for teams because if you get quality balls in the box then he is going to cause problems for the opposition. The pleasing thing for us today is that we kept him outside the box for long periods of the game, and I think that is the key to keeping him quiet."

With talk of an England call up for Carroll, Hughes has no doubt that the young striker will have an impact on international football.

"If he was involved in the England squad it would make everyone sit up and take notice," explained Hughes.

"If he gets the right service he is a real threat."

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