Although qualifying for the Europa League means extra games, Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is not showing any signs of worry ahead of the Premier League kick-off.
The famously unflappable Hodgson remained calm on the touchline at Fratton Park when the Whites pulled off their great escape in 2008 and kept calm as Fulham clinched an unlikely European qualification spot a year later. It takes a lot to excite the wily old campaigner, who celebrated his 62nd birthday on Sunday, and Hodgson is already targeting the group stages of UEFA’s revamped competition.
He said: “I’m going to try to get into the group stages and we will give it our best shot. We all know it can affect your league form. And you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to see that when Aston Villa got injuries last year they then decided to use squad players in the Uefa Cup to focus on the league. We will just do our best and see where it takes us.”
Hodgson’s side will have to navigate a treacherous trip to Amkar Perm in the play-off round and he will want Bobby Zamora, who turned down a transfer to Hull City earlier this summer, in better goalscoring form this year. The former West Ham forward wants to prove the doubters wrong after managing only two league goals last term.
“It is a goal to score some goals and to silence a few people as well. But the people who count, my team-mates, know exactly what I and Andy Johnson do for the team.”