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J.League kicks off with China in sight


Real Salt Lake re-sign Plata as DP

By ESPN Staff

Goal scoring Dunn back to his best, says Hughes

Blackburn Rovers manager Mark Hughes believes David Dunn is getting close to his best form seven months after returning to his hometown club.

The midfielder struggled with injury during his time at Birmingham and had no hesitation in rejoining Rovers in the January transfer window.

Since then he has been building up not only his fitness but his confidence after a difficult time in the midlands.

Dunn got his reward for his hard work on Sunday by grabbing the equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal after Robin van Persie had opened the scoring.

Dunn played a neat one-two with Matt Derbyshire and then saw goalkeeper Jens Lehmann spill his effort into the net.

Hughes said: 'The lads poked fun at him and told him it was an own goal. But he wasn't having it.

'We are delighted for Dunny - I thought he was excellent. His general play was good as was his determination to have a positive effect on the match.

'He is looking stronger every game he plays and is becoming a bigger influence. He is getting to the levels we knew he could.'

Blackburn showed their teeth after Van Persie opened the scoring following a defensive mix-up.

Skipper Ryan Nelsen saw a header come back off the post before being sent off in the second half after picking up two yellow cards.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was unhappy at Blackburn's approach to the match and accused them of 'violence'.

It was a charge dismissed by Hughes after referee Mike Riley dished out eight yellow cards and one red.

Wenger said: 'I felt there was a desire for violence more than commitment in some of the challenges.

'We were very resilient against a team that was over-physical. We dealt well with the problem we had.

'My team showed the correct attitude and we are frustrated because we should be going home with the three points.

'We did well and had some good chances to score a second goal here.'

Hughes retorted: 'That attitude (by Wenger) surprises me. The worst challenge was by van Persie on Stephen Warnock.'

Wenger, who saw defender William Gallas suffer a groin injury, refused to condemn Lehmann for his blunder.

'Jens is really unhappy and really down in the dressing room,' said the Gunners boss.

'I do not need to tell him, though, he has made a mistake. We do not want to blame him. We want to keep the positives.

'While we conceded a bad goal overall we dealt well with set pieces and long balls.

'Blackburn is a difficult place to come and it is not a bad result for us.'