Wales manager Mark Hughes praised his whole team after last night’s 2-1 win against Italy in the Millennium Stadium, butwarned that greater challenges lay ahead before his team could contemplate a place in the EURO 2004 finals.
“I went for the win, I felt we had the weapons that could really worry them, and that’s how it proved,’ said the victorious Walles manager.
“You will not have seen a performance like that in this stadium before.
“We restricted a great team to very few chances, and we then put in as good an attacking display as I have seen.
“The players should be proud of themselves. I’m not going to single anyone out, they were all magnificent.”
However, aware that there is a long way to go in the qualifying group, Hughes refused to get carried away by suggestions that Wales are now favourites to top the group.
“I still don’t believe we are favourites to qualify, we have only played two games and we must keep our cool and keep working.
“But I don’t think many teams would have coped with us the way we played.”
‘That was one of the best international performances you could have seen for years.
‘I may be biased but I think a lot of people will agree with me. It was a wonderful feeling but I hope to have a few more highs in my managerial career. In fact, the emotions you go through as a manager are incredible.
‘But the secret now is to keep our heads. We have to make sure we get the job done.
‘It’s no use beating Finland (in their first qualifier) and Italy if we don’t perform in Azerbaijan (next month) and fail to qualify.
‘The players know that. They still have a great desire to do more, to progress. We have to keep our nerve and believe in ourselves.’
Hughes’ Italian counterpart, Giovanni Trapattoni, was refreshingly candid in his assessment of the game, admitting that Italy were beaten by the’superior team’.