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Apr 9, 2011

Hughes: Fergie behind Utd mentality

Fulham manager Mark Hughes says his old club Manchester United are never beaten, they just sometimes "run out of time", and he credited Sir Alex Ferguson as the source of their fighting spirit.

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Ferguson's men remain on course for a potential Treble after Wayne Rooney, who starts a two-match ban against Fulham on Saturday, netted a crucial away goal in the midweek Champions League quarter-final first-leg win at Chelsea.

Last weekend, United showed the spirit of champions as they battled back from 2-0 down to win at West Ham courtesy of a hat-trick from Rooney, with his foul-mouthed celebration down a camera lens leading to sanctions from the Football Association.

Hughes, 47, had two successful spells as a player at Old Trafford, and knows the burning for desire there is "woven through the fabric of the club''.

Hughes said: "It happens time and time again, it is not coincidence or luck, it is because of what is drilled into them on a daily basis and what the manager demands of them - sometimes United run out of time, but they are never beaten.''

Hughes hopes to be able to utilise such an approach within his own squad.

"You want to get to that point, where you see the qualities you need to get back into games when things are going against you,'' he said. "The advantage they have over most teams is United have outstanding players to be able to do that, to turn things around. There are a lot of examples of teams with big names on paper that just haven't got that mentality because it is not driven from the top.''

It is likely Ferguson will rotate his squad for Saturday's match against the Cottagers, who have been beaten nine times away this season. However, Hughes believes his old club will not lose any focus as they look to extend their seven-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the table.

He said: "Although you look on and think there are a lot of higher-profile games for them in the next couple of weeks, they are still very clear in their objectives, and will want to be chalking up another victory to take them closer to the championship. People might think they will go into our game focused on other things ahead of them, but I doubt that.''

Hughes, however, is not about to park the proverbial bus tomorrow.

"We are not expected to win, given our record away from home is not good and at Old Trafford it is very poor. However, we are trying to change those things,'' he said. "We have been to some tough places this season and acquitted ourselves well. We know we can go to the bigger stages of the Premier League and give these teams a real run for their money, so why think any different going to Old Trafford?''

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