Roy Hodgson resisted the temptation to talk up Fulham’s European hopes after an impressive comeback saw them secure a comfortable win at Manchester City on Sunday.
The Whites didn’t take their chances and trailed at half-time to a deflected Stephen Ireland strike but Dickson Etuhu’s first goal for Fulham was sandwiched between two Clint Dempsey efforts as the Cottagers scored three without reply in the second half. The win lifts Fulham to eighth place in the table and, to within a point of West Ham in seventh with six games left, but Hodgson is refusing to get too carried away.
Asked about Europe, he acknowledged that there are plenty of sides still with similar aspirations.
I think there are a lot of teams still involved there. The important thing for us is to keep up the good work. There are six games to play, we need more points from those six games and we will see if that points total is enough at the end of the day.
After the season we had last season, to get into the UEFA Cup in my opinion is asking too much. If we get into the UEFA Cup you’ll be asking me if we can get into the Champions League. I think I’ll keep expectations lower than that.
It would be very, very nice to stay in the top half of the table. If you could guarantee me that now I would sign for it straight away.
The report leaves out Roy’s immediate reaction to the question, which made me chuckle. He said it would take more perspiration than aspiration to get to Europe.
He was delighted with the win at Eastlands, although recognised that City’s UEFA Cup tie in Hamburg on Thursday might have been a factor.
It is not easy to play in Europe at a high level and then do it again on Sunday as Manchester City were trying to do, so that was in our favour. But I don’t want that to take anything away from our team performance, because I thought we were very good.