Fulham manager Roy Hodgson was delighted with the three points against “one of the best teams in the country” after his side brushed off their opening day defeat at Hull to battle to victory over Arsenal.
Hodgson told the press following Fulham’s 1-0 win: “I thought we played well for 70 minutes but perhaps in the last 15 or 20 we were guilty of trying too hard to just cling on to the lead and moved away from the style. I can understand that. Perhaps we got tired because there was a lot of pressure, but we have to be realistic and say it is the consistency to play well for 90 minutes that we need.”
“It is dangerous to invite teams – especially teams of this quality – on to you. But that’s what we did in the end. The ball was in and around our penalty area far too much. I don’t want this to sound too critical, though. I’ve seen the best defensive performance by us since I’ve been here – but I like best the Fulham that can compose itself quite well and pass the ball well. To be fair it’s heartening that when our backs are against the wall we can produce the necessary fighting spirit.”
Hodgson heaped praise on matchwinner Brede Hangeland, whose first goal for Fulham proved decisive:
“I had him for a year-and-a-half at Viking Stavanger in Norway, and he’s still a good player both defensively and at set-pieces. His height is a big weapon but he can play as well. Let’s face it, he had to today against players of the quality of Adebayor and van Persie – not to mention Bendtner coming on as sub.”