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Livid Hodgson blasts UEFA
02 Oct 2009 - 08:25:39
Fuming Fulham boss Roy Hodgson could not understand why his side were forced to play their 1-0 Europa League victory against Basle without a replacement goalkeeper.
David Stockdale was injured and UEFA rejected the Cottagers' late attempt to have Pascal Zuberbuhler registered for the match.
It meant that Fulham did not have a keeper on the substitute's bench but, fortunately for Hodgson, first-choice shot-stopper Mark Schwarzer got through the game without picking up an injury.
Hodgson said: "UEFA refused our request to replace the injured Stockdale with Zuberbuhler on the basis they didn't think the injury was sufficiently long term.
"It wouldn't have been so bad if the two 18-year-old keepers we had weren't injured as well. But Mark Schwarzer and Zuberbuhler are our only fit keepers.
"It's a decision we dispute. We think the game would be denigrated if an outfield player was in goal because your keeper became injured.
"UEFA want to make the league stronger and more prestigious so I don't understand this decision. We protested and appealed but they stuck firm by their decision.
"With any luck Stockdale will be fit for the next game against Roma but there's no guarantee. If he isn't we could be in the same situation again.
"In the meantime we must thank our lucky stars Schwarzer wasn't injured and Zoltan Gera didn't have to put the gloves on, which he was looking forward to but I wasn't."
Danny Murphy's second-half goal proved top be enough to beat the Swiss side and Hodgson said on the game: "Basle were good, as any team who can beat Roma 2-0 would be. They have a good pedigree in Europe.
"They might not be a name that is very familiar to English fans but they are a very good team and showed that tonight.
"But I was pleased with the way we dug in and stuck to our task. We got some passing going in the second half and that led to our goal.
"It was a tight game that could have gone either way. We played better against Arsenal on Sunday but this was an important victory."
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