Hibs boss Hughes blasts strikers despite bagging six goals against Motherwell
Hibernian boss Hughes slams strikers after 12 goals thriller at Motherwell in the battle for Europe.
Hibernian manager John Hughes watched his three strikers bag half-a-dozen goals between them at Fir Park, but pointed the finger at the forwards for allowing Motherwell to claw back four goals to steal an incredible 6-6 draw in the battle for Europe.
Hibs were looking to coast into fourth place and the Europa League spot after going up 4-1 at half time and then leading 6-2 with 25 minutes to go. You could be forgiven for thinking the match was done and dusted, but Motherwell somehow managed to fight back with Lukas Jutkiewicz producing the goal of the night with an injury time volley straight into the top corner to equalise. All this and a penalty miss for the home side as well.
Hughes’ side crumbled at the relentless pressure put on by the Well, but the manager feels it was his strikers who are responsible for allowing Motherwell to claw back four goals and remain one point above the Leith side.
"Everybody will say 'they can't defend'. I felt at 6-2 up my strikers stopped working,” explained Hughes. "That's where you start defending, from the front. We stopped looking after it, stopped linking up, and it brought them on top of us.
"We started sitting too deep, too deep. There were a few individual mistakes on top of that."
MOTHERWELL V HIBERNIAN:
- Well v Hibs: Dirty Dozen battle for Europe and break SPL record
- Motherwell v Hibernian match report
- Brown marvels at amazing comeback in 12 goal thriller
- Hughes says Hibs fans still support him
The Easter Road boss has watched his side win just twice in 17 matches, but feels they should be judged on the season as a whole with the ultimate goals being qualification for Europe. If they can achieve that then the season has been a success.
To do so, Hibs will have to better Motherwell’s result at Ibrox when they travel to Dundee United to face Peter Houston’s men.
Motherwell manager Craig Brown, who said the match was “the most amazing game I have been involved in as a manager”, believes his team have the advantage despite facing Rangers in Glasgow at what will be the club’s title celebration party.
"They have got a good opportunity but we have a tremendous opportunity," Brown said. "Rangers have only lost three games but we showed against them here that we can compete, so we're capable of going there and getting something from the game, and hopefully it will be enough.
"We have Steve Jennings back because he was suspended and he is a major player for us."
Brown was naturally disappointed with his side's defending but praised their determination to fight back until the final whistle.
He added: "We were four goals down so you have got to commend the character of the team and I've got to be proud of them, because many a team would have chucked it by then."