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Roy Hodgson happy for Fulham to face top guns in Europa League
Published : 17 Dec 2009 10:02:52Rss feed
The Fulham manager saw his side get the win they needed to progress to the final 32 and now they could be paired with the likes of Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Standard Liege or Marseille, all of whom dropped out of the Champions League last week. Everton and Liverpool are also in the draw but English clubs cannot face each other at this stage. Spurs need to prove themselves in Premier League, says Terry VenablesFulham aim to deter Newcastles advances for Brede Hangeland'I am not sure we'll play bigger teams than Basel, Sofia and Roma in the next stages. They are all teams with great European pedigree over the year, so the teams we meet may not be necessarily stronger. 'With Liverpool and Juventus the blatant exception, I am not so certain there are so many big teams coming down to the Europa League. I wouldn't mind playing Juventus, we play Liverpool enough.' The victory, which came despite the fact that Paul Konchesky, Erik Nevland and Chris Baird were all suspended and Andrew Johnson injured, was the perfect boost ahead of Saturday's visit of Manchester United. Brede Hangeland, Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff were also rested to the bench. Fulham beat United at Craven Cottage last season when the visitors finished with nine men after Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney were sent off. 'Konchesky and Hangeland come back into the team, Baird can come back, Nevland will be available,' said Hodgson of his options against United, 'so it means we will have some fresh players. 'But I'm interested to see Chris Smalling, Bjorn Helga Riise and how Zoltan Gera would do in that position (alongside Bobby Zamora) and, in particular, how Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu would do after injury. And fortunately I was proved right.' Fulham owed their passage to the final 32 to two goals from Zamora and a third from Gera, and Hodgson added: 'Bobby Zamora carried on from where he left off in the Premier League. 'I thought he was very unlucky to have a first goal ruled out for offside, and he was a real thorn in the flesh of the Basel defence. I took him off as a precaution; he had a slight problem with his back. But he's got to be delighted with his performance. 'Bobby one of our more popular players, he has a chant of his own and the fans seem to appreciate and like him. The one criticism is he hasn't scored enough goals but nine goals is a pretty good return for any forward.'