Hodgson: Europa League no distraction
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson denied his players' minds were elsewhere after they were held to a 0-0 Premier League draw by Wolves on Saturday. Bobby Zamora rattled the Wolves woodwork in the second half but Fulham otherwise struggled to break down the spirited visitors who are now six points clear of relegation with three matches left. Hodgson admitted before the match that Thursday's Europa League semi-final against Hamburg would be in the back of his mind for the Wolves clash, but he denied his players' thoughts were elsewhere. He said: "It wasn't a case of Thursday being a distraction, it was a case of having to deal with a team who are difficult to deal with because they are well-rehearsed with their style of play. "They kick the ball up from their goalkeeper and try to hold you in the box and the first thing you have to do is deal with that and don't slip up and concede goals. "In the second half we did well to get the ball down and get behind them and we did better. "But credit to Mick McCarthy and his team because they were prepared to sweat blood and got their reward." Wolves' only defeat in their past seven matches came against Arsenal and they will now face Blackburn, Portsmouth and Sunderland before the end of the season. McCarthy, though, denied that the result meant his side were now safe from relegation. "I don't think we're there yet but games are running out and we have taken another point. We still have important games left," the Yorkshireman said. "This is silly season. Results are strange this time of year and I don't want any silly results that might upset us." Hodgson was delighted to have picked up no fresh injuries ahead of Thursday's clash, as they look to extend a European campaign which has already seen them account for the likes of Juventus, Wolfsburg and Shakhtar Donetsk. Brede Hangeland was absent from the Cottagers' starting XI today after his wife went into labour on Saturday morning. Hodgson hopes that the Norway centre half will be available for Thursday though, should the volcanic ash cloud disappear. "Hangeland would have played had she not but we hope that he becomes a father for the second time by Monday and by Tuesday he'll be back in training and ready to play in Hamburg," said Hodgson. As for the volcanic ash, Hodgson fears it will throw into jeapordy Fulham's travel plans for Germany. UEFA are expected to announce on Monday whether or not they intend to let Fulham's first leg in Hamburg go ahead. British airspace is closed until at least 7am Sunday morning. Hodgson confirmed that UEFA had been in touch with the club and now hopes that the ash blows over to allow Fulham to fly to Hamburg on Wednesday morning as originally planned. "UEFA have been in touch with the club and the English FA are in touch with the matter," said Hodgson. "One of UEFA's concerns is that it should be fair and that their opponents don't have to go through hell and high water to get to the game. "An ideal scenario would be that the volcanic ash clears up and we can fly over to Germany. "It's totally and utterly linked to if there are flights. If there are no flights then the only option is to get a train and bus to Hamburg. "There could still be a further problem because there might be no trains or coaches to travel on but I'm confident UEFA will resolve the problem."
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