Europa League - Hughes proud despite defeat
PA Sport - Thu, 05 Aug 23:08:00 2010
Hibernian manager John Hughes remained proud of his players despite watching them crash out of the Europa League with a 6-2 aggregate hammering from NK Maribor.
The Easter Road men, already trailing by 3-0 from the first leg of their third qualifying round in Slovenia, lost 3-2 on the night to go out of Europe at the first hurdle.
The visitors were well worthy of their double victory and Hughes confessed the opening goal, a header from Maribor skipper Marcos Tavares after only 19 minutes, had killed the tie stone dead and left his side with no chance of going through.
Hughes said: "I felt the boys gave me everything in terms of a start, although I must say it was up and at them, which is not like us. But we just felt we wanted to mix it up and see if they could handle it, play a high tempo and get up on the second balls - and it was happening.
"We had one or two chances to take the lead - Anthony Stokes had a wee half chance but (the early goal) just didn't materialise. To lose a goal from a set-piece was disappointing and after that it was hard for the boys.
"But I'm very proud of them, they gave an almighty effort, they kept plugging away, kept digging in there. Just on the night, it was far too much for us to do. I asked them to play with a pride and a passion and a desire and I saw that."