Hughes angry at Wilkinson
Fulham boss Mark Hughes blasted Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson after seeing Moussa Dembele carried off on a stretcher.
By Danny Wright
Last Updated: 22/09/10 8:55am
Fulham boss Mark Hughes blasted Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson after his side's 2-0 Carling Cup defeat at the Britannia Stadium saw Moussa Dembele carried off on a stretcher.
Goals from Danny Higginbotham and Kenwyne Jones put the Potters on course for a comfortable and deserved victory but Hughes was irked by the challenge from Wilkinson.
The defender was cautioned in third minute of stoppage-time for chopping down Dembele, who left the field clutching his left leg.
Hughes said his medical staff would assess the extent of the damage but he would not hide his fury at a tackle he felt was needless - claiming the City player had broken the footballers 'code'.
"The next 24 hours will show us how bad the injury is," Hughes said. "If he has avoided serious injury then he has been a very lucky boy because the tackle that took him out was, from my point of view, an absolutely ridiculous challenge at that stage of the game.
"When you are at that stage of the game and your team is leading 2-0, there is a certain code I would suggest that you look after your fellow professional, and the lad has ignored that.
"There was no need for the challenge at that late stage in the game and he has put a fellow professional's career at risk by the nature of it. I don't know what the hell he was thinking about to be perfectly honest.
"We are hopeful that he (Dembele) is fortunate and there has been no break, and if that is the case, it's a blessing because at the time of the challenge I thought he had done a real serious injury."
A lengthy lay-off for the 23-year-old would add to the fitness woes for Hughes, who recently lost key man Bobby Zamora to a broken leg.
The English striker is facing a five-month absence from action and losing Dembele, scorer of three goals since his arrival from AZ Alkmaar last month, for an extended period would leave the Cottagers seriously short up front.
Hughes added: "We have already lost Bobby Zamora to a serious injury and will be five months at least with him out of the side, so we can ill-afford to lose another quality striker.
"We have been really pleased with what Moussa has produced in the short time he has been with us and if we have to be without him for any length of time then that is going to compromise our attacking threat."