Hodgson defends Rovers 'failure'
ew Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has defended his record in English football and insisted he has learned from failures earlier in his career. The 62-year-old's appointment on a three-year contract at Anfield has received a lukewarm response in some quarters. Despite his relative success with Fulham, making them a solid mid-table Premier League side and guiding them to the Europa League final, there are those who still remember his unsuccessful spell at Blackburn between 1997 and 1998. Hodgson led a side which narrowly escaped relegation to a sixth-placed finish in his first season only to be sacked in December 1998 with the club bottom of the table. But Hodgson still defends his time at Ewood Park. "Blackburn was the only place I have been sacked and that was somewhat harsh," he said. "I took a team which had avoided relegation by one point into European football and then lost four of the very best players - three to injury and one to a forced sale to Rangers - the following year. "Admittedly the start of the following season was not as good and we built up expectations but it is difficult for me to see Blackburn as a complete failure. "I did make mistakes there; you always make mistakes when you fail somewhere. "I have analysed those failures but I don't think they were quite as blatant as some people would like to think." The former Inter Milan boss also hit out at critics who say he has not had enough experience at big clubs. "Blackburn were a top side when I went there, we finished sixth in the league, Udinese have had success in the past and the four years I had with the Swiss national team going to the World Cup and European championships was successful. "I regard comments like that as far too insular." If expectations were high at Blackburn the targets Hodgson will be set at Liverpool will be astronomical in comparison. First he has to persuade star players Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard to stay, then he has to somehow strengthen a squad lacking in depth on a very tight budget and finally get the club back into the Champions League after finishing seventh last season. Hodgson wants to bring in some new faces but will fully assess the merits of the squad he has inherited before making any decisions. "I haven't had time to sit down with the chairman (Martin Broughton), chief executive (Christian Purslow), with Kenny Dalglish, Sammy Lee, with Eduardo (Macia), the chief scout," he said. "Before we decide what we need I need to canvas the opinions of all these people about what has been going on. "I need to hear what the backroom staff think and not base my opinions on the Liverpool matches I saw this season. "We need some players and I would like to come into the club with one or two players which will freshen things up. "But we have to make very good decisions and use any money we get very wisely - we won't be able to splash out money left, right and centre."
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