Fulham defender Aaron Hughes claims Dimitar Berbatov is key to avoiding drop
Fulham's Aaron Hughes insists Dimitar Berbatov must remain at Craven Cottage if they are to avoid relegation.
Last Updated: 05/12/13 3:58pm
The Bulgarian striker was the stand-out performer for the Cottagers on Wednesday night as they lost a hard-fought battle with Tottenham in Rene Meulensteen's first game in charge of the club.
However, prior to kick-off, Berbatov's agent revealed the striker could be looking for a move in the January transfer window.
Meulensteen insists he is confident Berbatov will still be a Fulham player come February and, speaking the wake of their midweek defeat, Hughes claimed his team-mate must stay.
"I think tonight he showed his performances are brilliant for us - not only on the ball but off the ball," Hughes told the Fulham Chronicle.
"He's a vital player for us, obviously. You've seen the contribution he makes and the role he has in our team.
"We need all our players at the minute to perform at the highest levels that they can and I thought tonight we got that from everyone."
Fulham were beaten 2-1 by Spurs after goals from Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby cancelled out Ashkan Dejagah's opener for the hosts.
Meulensteen's men pressed until to the end and Hughes believes his side deserved to share the spoils but should take heart from an improved performance.
"We were unlucky not to get something," he added. "It would have been nice to walk away with at least a point.
"We hoped to get more, but first and foremost we wanted to put in a performance with a lot of energy, because that's what's been disappointing in the last few games.
"Sometimes the energy levels weren't up there. Today they were.
"It took two good strikes to undo us, so we are a little disappointed we didn't get anything, but there are a lot of positives to be taken from it."