Roy Hodgson praised his players for ‘a sterling effort’ as Fulham recorded a narrow win at Portsmouth on the opening day.

Hodgson acknowledged that the manner of Fulham’s goal – Clint Dempsey’s shot cannoned off Bobby Zamora and left David James with no chance – was fortunate but felt his side had done enough to win.

It was very good. We scored a fortuitous goal, of course, with the deflection, but that sometimes happens. After that, I thought we defended well throughout the game.

It was a little bit nervous towards the end as these games always are because, in the opening game of the season when you’re leading 1-0, the things are going through your mind all the time are ‘Let’s not lose this’ and ‘Let’s make sure we’ve still got the three points at the end of it’.

All credit to Portsmouth for doing their very best to get an equaliser, but I’m pleased we held out and pleased of course to start the season with three points from a difficult away game. I thought it was a sterling effort from everybody really to work hard to keep what is a very talented Portsmouth team at bay.