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Schwarzer happy to have turned down Juve and Bayern for life at Fulham

25 Mar 2009 14:47:17

Schwarzer happy to have turned down Juve and Bayern for life at Fulham

Having dismissed Fulham as Premier League no-hopers barely a year ago, Mark Schwarzer has revealed how he is now pleased he was persuaded to become part of the club's remarkable revival that may yet see it qualify for Europe. The summer signing of Schwarzer from Middlesbrough was just one of the astute moves made by manager Roy Hodgson that have transformed Fulham from being relegation fodder into consistent performers in the top half of the table. The big Australian goalkeeper has been the bedrock of a defence that boasts the fourth best goals-conceded record in the league. And he was at his brilliant best on Saturday when successive point-blank saves from Ji-Sung Park and Wayne Rooney helped Fulham clinch a shock victory over Manchester United that blew the title race wide open. In fine form: Schwarzer produced a great performance for Fulham to keep Manchester United scoreless While Boro are now struggling to beat the drop, Schwarzer and his newteam-mates find themselves ninth just one point off the seventh placethat will almost certainly earn a place in the new Europa Cupcompetition next season. Schwarzer, who also considered offers to move to Bayern Munich andJuventus when he ended an 11-year association with Middlesbrough, putshis current good fortune down to the persuasive powers of Hodgson.  Don't thank me! Hodgson warns United's title rivals that Fulham are gunning for them tooTime for heroes: Sportsmail's verdict on the saviours and stinkers from the January transfer windowSportsmail's Star of the Season: Cast your vote now - who deserves your team's gong? Roy makes a Rovers return: Racey's out of retirement for Melchester missionJAMIE REDKNAPP'S WEEKEND WATCH: United are losing their wayFULHAM FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET Still fit and agile at 36, he said: 'Towards the end of last seasonmost people were writing Fulham off, and I was one of them. AroundFebruary time, when I was at Boro, I remember thinking Fulham had nochance of surviving. 'But they created that amazing feat, staying up, and then, when I camedown to speak Roy Hodgson, I realised he had plans, that he wanted toturn the club around and make it into a strong team and really look uptowards the top half of the table. Great turnaround: Roy Hodgson guided Fulham to safety last season and is now eyeing a place in Europe after this season 'This season we've consolidated very well, we've played very goodfootball and I think it's right we're in the position we're in.'   TODAY'S POLL   Who has been the star man for Fulham this season? VOTE POLL RESULTS      Close All polls Click to view yesterday's poll results Schwarzer, hoping that a win over Uzbekistan in Sydney next Wednesdaywill all but clinch World Cup qualification for the Socceroos, creditsthe team spirit inspired by Hodgson for the turnaround in Fulham'sfortunes. He said: 'It's fantastic to have that type of manager who encouragesyou and gives you self-belief, so that if you make a mistake you justget your head down and rectify it. Everyone is pulling in the rightdirection, everyone is supporting each other, guys are covering eachother in case there are mistakes. 'From the front line to the back line we're defending as a team andthat shows with the amount of clean sheets we've had this season. Ourdefensive record is outstanding and that is credit to the full team,not just the back four and the goalkeeper. Socceroo: Schwarzer is hoping to head to a second consecutive World Cup with Australia 'Now we have 40 points, and everyone talks about 40 points being in thesafe zone. When you think about what Fulham went through last season,to be where we are now is a credit to everyone at the club.' And they're not finished yet. Schwarzer said: 'There's eight games togo and we definitely want to finish in the top half of the table. 'But I'm also hoping for two of the top four teams to be in the FA CupFinal so another place in Europe goes to a finishing position in theleague that would open it up.' It is typical of the confidence now coursing through Craven Cottagethat Fulham's next fixture, at home to Liverpool on Saturday week,holds few fears for Schwarzer. 'It's a massive game,' he said. 'But hopefully we can perform equally well against them as we did against Manchester United.'  Don't thank me! Hodgson warns United's title rivals that Fulham are gunning for them tooTime for heroes: Sportsmail's verdict on the saviours and stinkers from the January transfer windowSportsmail's Star of the Season: Cast your vote now - who deserves your team's gong? Roy makes a Rovers return: Racey's out of retirement for Melchester missionJAMIE REDKNAPP'S WEEKEND WATCH: United are losing their wayFULHAM FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET


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