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Riise sets sights on Euro success
Published : 21 Jul 2011 10:00:13
Fulham defender John Arne Riise has dismissed the Europa League naysayers and believes the Cottagers can achieve something special in this year's edition.
The west Londoners gained a place in the competition through the Fair Play league, which resulted in their season starting on June 30 against NSI Runavik. Having seen off the Faroese minnows with relative ease, Fulham face Northern Ireland part-timers Crusaders on Thursday night with a 3-1 lead from the first leg of their second qualifying round clash.
Fulham have a special relationship with the competition after finishing as runner-up in 2010 and former Champions League winner Riise, who is gunning for further success, said: "You can see by the team the manager puts out that we're taking this competition seriously. He wants to play to win and I think we are in this competition because it is great to be in Europe."
He added: "And like I said to you, getting to the final was a great achievement for the club and if we can do something similar this year it is going to be awesome. But I think we'll have to take it one game at a time and see where we go."
Riise is set to make his Fulham debut on Thursday after joining from Serie A outfit Roma. The former Liverpool man's transfer ends a three-year absence from English football and sees him link up with his brother Bjorn Helge in west London.
While admitting he is delighted to be able to play alongside his brother, Riise insists there are plenty of other reasons behind his move.
"I've settled in very well," he said. "I knew some things about the club before I came here through my brother. I'm really enjoying it and training has been really good.
"Bjorn obviously knows the club well from the inside. He knows the players, the staff, and the way the team trains and how the club takes care of their players.
"It's a big issue that my brother is here the main thing is I know it is a good squad that works hard.
"I like the manager and how he thinks about football, how the chairman runs the club, so there were a lot of factors involved in my decision to come to come back. And obviously being able to play in the Premier League was a big, big thing."