Hughes relishing European adventure
Fulham defender Aaron Hughes insists the Europa League will not upset the Cottagers' pre-season preparations and that every game is being approached as if it was against Manchester United.
The west Londoners secured safe passage to the third qualifying round Thursday night with a dominant 4-0 victory over Northern Irish part-timers Crusaders, making it 7-1 on aggregate over the two legs. The match was Fulham's fourth competitive match of the season, having started their European campaign against Faroese minnows NSI Runavik on June 30.
"It hasn't been too difficult to adapt to the early start," said Hughes.
"We've tried not to upset our pre-season, if you like. The games are slightly different because they are competitive but we're still working through things in training with the new season in mind.
"Obviously we maybe have to tweak one or two things in the build-up to competitive games, but I think once we knew we were coming back early it was definite then. You get your head round it and you carry on"
Andrew Johnson, Damien Duff, Bobby Zamora and Steve Sidwell netted in Thursday's second leg at Craven Cottage to set up a tie with RNK Split of Croatia. Hughes admits that he knows little about next week's opponents but promises that the Whites will not take their trip to the Adriatic coast lightly.
"We go where we have to go," he said. "We take each game as it comes, wherever that may be.
"We're still in the competition and we'll enjoy it as much as we can for as long as we're still in it. We will do exactly the same as we would do if we were going to play Manchester United.
"We will have a couple of guys maybe go out and watch a couple of their games and bring reports back. Leading up to the game, we will watch a couple of DVDs, have a little chat about certain things.
"Maybe certain things that we feel they're dangerous at and certain areas where we feel we can hurt them. It will be no different to preparations for a Premier League game really so we will know enough about them come kick off."
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