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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 10, 2007

Angry Hughes laments slow-starting Rovers

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes feels another slow start by his team led to their downfall against West Ham. Rovers were beaten for the third time in their last five matches, with striker Dean Ashton grabbing the winner seven minutes after his arrival as a half-time substitute. With just five points from their last six games overall, the poor run has resulted in Rovers slipping off the pace in their quest for a top-six finish this season. Hughes does not feel there has been anything inherently wrong with his team's performances of late. However, the opening 45 minutes against the Hammers was arguably one of their worst halves of football this season. Hughes at least offered credit where it was due to West Ham in that respect, but he knows his side simply were not at the races early on. 'In the first half West Ham had a lot of players behind the ball,' remarked Hughes. 'They stopped our influential players getting into the key areas, and they did it very well, with Danny Gabbidon and Matthew Upson outstanding. So credit to them. They worked extremely hard. 'You could see why they were unlucky not to get something out of the game with Chelsea last weekend (losing 1-0) because they are organised and they do have a threat as well. 'West Ham were strong and powerful, but we should have shown more than we actually did, in particular in the first half. 'If we start well then invariably we play well for the rest of the game, but if we have a slow start, we find it is difficult to pick it up again. 'So we're disappointed with the way we played, albeit after their goal I thought we created numerous chances that on another day would possibly have won us the game, but it wasn't to be.' After Ashton's fourth goal of the season those chances were either spurned, or they found Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green in unbeatable form. After a double save to deny Christopher Samba and Andre Ooijer at one stage, Green reserved his best until last with a flying stop in turning over the crossbar a 30-yard volley from Tugay. 'He showed his quality, in particular a fantastic save from Tugay,' added Hughes. 'At the time I thought it was a bread-and-butter save, but the ball moved at the last second and he did well to adjust and keep it out.'