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Hudson upbeat after All Whites win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/03/2017

<p>Anthony Hudson</p> © Reuters

Anthony Hudson

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson has a few decisions still to make ahead of Tuesday's return leg of their World Cup qualifying series against Fiji in Wellington.

Second-half goals from Chris Wood and Marco Rojas set up the 2-0 win in Lautoka on Saturday, but the New Zealanders had to work hard in hot and humid conditions.

With only two days between matches, Hudson says he'll be monitoring his players carefully as they prepare for Tuesday's match.

"Given the conditions and humidity, it took a little bit out of us in terms of us having that last little bit of energy and playing with a little bit of purpose," he said.

"Some players were feeling a little bit of cramp, and we were having to change decisions at the last minute.

"But we're pleased we got through, we kept a clean sheet and everybody's healthy."

Hudson said it was testament to the depth of the All Whites squad that the win didn't need key players to over-extend themselves in the Lautoka heat.

He was able to introduce key player Tommy Smith for a late run in Lautoka, the 26-year-old Ipswich defender stretching his legs as an 88th minute replacement.

Phoenix striker Shane Smeltz also played a late cameo, on for Clayton Lewis in the 77th minute.

"Both of them are a big influence on the team, they're both a big presence," he said.

"Now we can go to the next game and if we choose, if we need, we can make a few more changes to make sure we have a fresh team starting the game."

Hudson said while it was encouraging to keep a clean sheet, it was also important to keep the goals coming at the other end.

"We keep stressing that we take pride in keeping clean sheets and being hard to beat, but we also want to score goals.

"I think we created a lot of really good chances, although we can do a lot better."

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