Football

Hughes impressed by Bellamy's character

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Manchester City manager Mark Hughes praised Craig Bellamy after the striker's decision to play on despite the loss of a close family friend through illness.

Bellamy dedicated his two goals in the 4-3 aggregate victory against FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Cup to his late cousin.

Hughes said: "Craig showed great character as he has done for many years. He showed real mental strength to play after a very close family member had passed away."

He added: "It was touch and go whether he was in the right frame of mind to play. He wanted to play and we benefited from that.

"Under difficult circumstances he has come through and made the impact we hoped he would."

Wales striker Bellamy got both goals in the 2-1 win at Eastlands in the space of seven second half minutes to dismantle Copenhagen and set up a meeting with another Danish side Aalborg in the last 16.

He then revealed on five he has been hit hard by the death of a family member.

Bellamy said: "I lost my cousin, one of my closest friends, on Thursday morning. It was a hard day for me, for my family and his family. I'll miss him dearly and I'd like to dedicate this game to him and the goals as well."

Bellamy opened the scoring in the 73rd minute with a cool finish and then put the tie to bed following good work from Robinho. It was his fifth goal in seven games since arriving from West Ham last month and he is fast earning cult status at City. Substitute Martin Vingaard scored a stoppage-time consolation goal but that could not prevent Hughes celebrating.

Bellamy said: "We got the job done. It was difficult at times because with the away goals (rule) you don't want to push too many forward. In the second half we asserted ourselves more and got the goals. Myself, Shaun (Wright-Phillips) and Robbie (Robinho) are attacking players and I think it paid dividends."

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Topics:
Europa League
European News
Football
Manchester City
Mark Hughes
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Mark Hughes

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