Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hughes Puts His Faith in Lessons Learned from Italian Teacher Vialli

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hughes Puts His Faith in Lessons Learned from Italian Teacher Vialli

Article excerpt


SPEAKING up for Gianluca Vialli may not be a popular pastime just now but Wales manager Mark Hughes is happy to admit he is a big fan.

Since the Italian lost his job at Watford he has become football's equivalent of a missing person, only warranting a mention as the man responsible for financial meltdown at Vicarage Road.

But Hughes says he learned a lot from Vialli, who was first his team-mate and then his manager at Chelsea in the late 1990s.

Since Italy are very much in the mind of the Welsh manager this week - they face the Azzurri in a European Championship qualifier at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday - he has been remembering his Italian lessons at Stamford Bridge.

"I have taken lots from all my managers but I was very impressed with Vialli. I enjoyed playing under him. He was a wonderful player and he was very meticulous in the way he went about his job.

"His attention to detail was impressive.

He is a nice guy, too.

You can relate to him and want to do well for him as a player."

Vialli, who brought the FA Cup to Chelsea twice, and Hughes share similarly quiet, approachable personalities, so it is no surprise that the Wales manager has a lot of respect for his former boss. He may even be employing some of his methods as he masterminds his side's attempt to reach their first major finals since 1976.

Hughes is being credited with revolutionising the Welsh national setup since taking over from Bobby Gould three years ago. In that time they have beaten Germany, drawn with Argentina and last month overcame Finland to stir hopes of a genuine revival - and Hughes will be rewarded on Wednesday when the FA of Wales are expected to make him the best-paid manager in the country's history by giving him a pound sterling300,000a-year contract until 2006.

Hughes is modest about his managerial technique, although he nods approvingly at suggestions that he is unlikely to do an Alex Ferguson - another of his previous managers - and throw a few teacups around the dressing room.

"I am into stepping back and observing, then highlighting things," said Hughes, who is now fulltime in the job after two years as playermanager. …

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