Roy the pragmatist tells the Sub that he’s keen to keep his feet on the ground.
We’ve got to be careful that we don’t start raising expectations so high that, like a balloon, we’re going to blow and blow and blow and instead of the balloon getting bigger, it might just burst on us.
It is important that expectations are kept at a level that we feel comfortable and confident we can reach. At the start of the season I thought we could survive in the Premier League and my goal was to do it much more comfortably.
What I dreamt of – a good season in which we entertained the fans – is close to fruition now. If we can kick on, then great. But instead of always looking upwards, people should learn from what has happened to Charlton and it’s not looking good for Norwich either.
He likens simply staying in the league to winning the title for the ‘smaller’ clubs in the Premier League. If that’s the case then Hodgson’s own achievements over the last year and a half take us off the scale.
No one wants to leave this paradise. And anyway, I think the League is sufficiently competitive that all the lower teams will play the top four believing they can win. We beat Manchester United and the people at Liverpool know they’ll have to perform well to get a result.
That’s certainly true. We’ve got a terrific record against the top four (and five if you include Villa) this season and look a lot more threatening in those games than we did last season.
His thoughts on the future are worth considering, too.
I would still see the top four dominating. I do think the current recession is quite useful in that it will force football clubs to look very closely at not over-spending.
It might force us all to be a little more satisfied with what we’ve got. Because it is better to survive, keeping the team in the League, than stretching for that place in Europe and finding yourself in administration two years later. For us, if we play well and finish seventh and that means playing in Europe, then fine. But it’s not something I dream about. I’d be more interested in finishing seventh because I could say only six teams in the League were better.
Playing in Europe could stretch our resources and next year, come May we could find ourselves looking over our shoulder fighting relegation.
I still wince at comments like his last one, though. The statistical evidence weighs heavily against that argument and surely the prospect of European football at the Cottage would give us both the inclination and the opportunity to lure a few more quality players to Fulham to boost our squad. Even though it’s unlikely to be our turn again next year, European football is something to be savoured.