Hodgson stays clam
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson insists it is too early to talk about relegation six pointers ahead of Sunday's derby clash at West Ham. The Cottagers and Hammers lie 17th and 18th in the table respectively after disappointing starts to their campaigns. But Hodgson believes both sides can turn things around over the course of the season and survive the drop. He said: "I have great confidence within ourselves that over the course of 38 games we will get the points necessary. Save worries"I am also confident that West Ham will get the points necessary so I think I'll save my worries about six pointers until we get to the 25 or 28 game mark rather than the seven game mark." Fulham's small squad face the added pressure of competing in the Europa League this term but Hodgson is pleased with the way things are going. The Cottagers currently sit top of Group B after Thursday night's 1-0 win over FC Basle. Hodgson added: "We are pleased with how it is going. "We knew that this period would impact to a certain extent on our Premier League form and we have had to learn with these situations where we are playing a lot more football and people are being thrown into more games. Stronger"If we can come through it as one of the top two teams in the group, that will make us a lot stronger come January and that might be a time when we need to come strong because that might be the time when the league starts to take shape." Hodgson was particularly pleased with teenage centre half Chris Smalling following the victory over Basle. "He is maturing all the time," said the Fulham boss. "I thought his performance against CSKA Sofia was very good. His performance against Manchester City was even more worthy of praise because he was playing against (Carlos) Tevez and (Craig) Bellamy and again he played very well against a very good Basle team. "We have the centre-half pairing of (Brede) Hangeland and (Aaron) Hughes but it was very nice to see how we have admirable back up in Chris Baird and Chris Smalling, both of whom had very good games (against Basle)."
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