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By ESPN Staff

Fabregas' Barca jibe sparks Hughes fury

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes had a run-in with teenage Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas when the Spanish teenager asked him after a goalless, soul-destroying fifth-round draw at The Emirates: 'Did you really play for Barcelona?'

Rugged Rovers had battled for a replay from the start and were benefactors of referee Martin Atkinson's generosity in turning down a stonewall Arsenal penalty.

But boss `Sparky` flew into a fury, gesturing at Fabregas as he went down the tunnel after his sniping remark.

And the four-times FA Cup winner with Manchester United and Chelsea insisted: 'I thought the boy showed disrespect to somebody who has won a lot more FA Cups than him.'

Hughes explained: 'He came off the pitch and asked me if I had played for Barcelona and when I said that, yes I did, he said something to the effect of `that wasn't Barcelona football, was it ?'

Fabregas, a Barcelona fan from a lad, later apologised to Hughes but was frustrated by a 90-minute rearguard action by Rovers which earned a replay at Ewood Park next Wednesday.

Arsenal now play PSV in Eindhoven in the first leg of their second round Champions League on Tuesday and then Chelsea next Sunday in the Carling Cup final, while Blackburn have the second leg of their UEFA Cup clash with Germany's Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday at Ewood.

Hughes said: 'I thought our performance merited a good deal of credit. We had six or seven senior players out injured or rested and the last time we came here we lost 6-2.

'We certainly didn't want that happening again and we did well to restrict a very good Arsenal side to just a few chances. Brad Friedel made some terrific saves at the end but for the most part he was not very busy.

'We have had nine of our last 11 games away from home and have done really well. It is another game now but we are glad to still be in the hat.'