Aaron Hughes has stressed just how important it is for Fulham to head to Ukraine with a positive result from tonight’s first leg against Shakhtar Donetsk if they are to progress in the competition.

The Northern Ireland international thinks that keeping things tight at the back in tonight’s Europa League tie is absolutely crucial.

It’s important that you try not to give away any goals in the home game. You try and keep a clean sheet first and foremost. If you can nick a goal then great.

Our home form is important in these competitions. When you go away, whether to Shakhtar or somewhere else, it’s always difficult. So you have to get as much advantage from your home games as possible.

We’ve watched a little bit on DVD. We know the areas they’re going to be strong in and also areas where we can take advantage – we’ve been working on that.

They’ve got very good technical players, they like to get the ball down and pass it. Of all the clips were saw, there weren’t too many long balls being hit, it was all short, sharp stuff around the corner. We know we’re in for a tough test.

The European nights are always good fun, I’ve always said it’s a nice break from the normal domestic season. You get to play against teams from different countries with different styles of play – against players you normally wouldn’t face.

We’ve been enjoying it and now we find ourselves up against a side that’s capable of winning it. They’re an experienced side with lots of good technical players – so it’s going to be a tough game for us.