"Obviously, we are all disappointed at what has happened," Hughes said ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan tomorrow. "The manager has made his decision and everyone is behind that. There needs to be discipline and Lawrie has acted accordingly. Now the situation is past, we have to look forward to the games that are coming up. The last two training sessions have been really lively and enjoyable."
While Whitley has gone to ground, Mulryne hinted that he intends talking to Sanchez after the qualifier against England next Wednesday. "This would not be the right time but I would like to speak to him at another time," he said.
Having failed to win in 10 matches stretching back to June 2004, Northern Ireland could have done with two of their more experienced players on the pitch.
Whitley played in the 1-1 draw against Malta in a friendly two weeks ago, while Mulryne came off the bench. It was a poor performance and only a last-minute penalty save by Maik Taylor prevented an embarrassing defeat. "The Malta game was a one-off, a bad night," Hughes said. "The Azerbaijan game is chance to give not only a positive performance but to get a positive result.