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Let's keep up standards - Brede
Published : 01 May 2010 15:09:00
rede Hangeland has reminded Fulham's Europa League heroes there are still Premier League points up for grabs. Hangeland admits the prospect of meeting Atletico Madrid in their European final at the Hamburg Arena on May 12 will be dominating every player's thoughts. It will be the biggest match in the club's 131-year history and will conclude a fairytale season under manager Roy Hodgson. But Hangeland insists that with a 10th successive season in the Premier League already guaranteed, Fulham must not lose interest in their domestic duties. First up is Sunday's visit of West Ham with fixtures against Stoke and Arsenal also to come. "Of course the final will be in the back of our minds but the worst thing we could do would be to drop the standard in the Premier League and then think we can raise it again for the final," he said. "We need to keep going the way we have done all season and do our best in the league games, which will be good preparation for the final. "You need to perform to stay in good shape, both as individuals and as a team, so I'm sure the manager will not let us drop our standards." Fulham's passage to the final has been remarkable given they initially viewed Europe as a pleasant distraction that had the potential to jeopardise their more pressing domestic priorities. The competition's importance snowballed as they progressed, however, collecting a string of heavyweight scalps that has caught everyone's imagination. "I think it's great to play in Europe. It's a break from the usual games in the Premier League and it's a different kind of football," said Hangeland. "Everyone associated with the club loves these games. You could see against Hamburg on Thursday how much it means to everyone. "To be one of the 11 playing is a big honour and to get to the final is a great achievement." Hodgson's first-choice team has a settled look to it and the Fulham manager will nurse his squad carefully over the next two weeks. Top scorer Bobby Zamora is the only major concern and it is hoped intensive treatment will enable him to overcome his Achilles injury in time to face the Spaniards. Simon Davies, who fired a brilliant equaliser against Hamburg, has urged his team-mates to temporarily shelve their thoughts of European glory. "We will not get too carried away with anything and the manager was already talking about West Ham when we were in the dressing room after the game," he said. "When the final comes around in a couple of weeks we will enjoy it, but now we just have to get ready to face West Ham."