Brede Hangeland is looking forward to Fulham’s group games in the Europa League – and admits he was delighted to see Roma drawn in our group.
The Norwegian centre back says he is eagerly anticipating the ‘new experience’ of playing in Basel and in Rome and is confident that Roy Hodgson’s side can give a good account of themselves.
I think all three opponents are beatable and we have a fair chance to progress to the knock-out stage. I think we all wanted to play a big team and we’ve got Roma, which will obviously be two very big matches for us and then the other two will be very good teams as well. But we should be confident.
I’ve played in Sofia before but haven’t played in the Stadio Olimpico or in Basel, so it will be a new experience for me and I think it’s great to play in those kind of games.
Everyone’s talking about it being a lot of games and a great physical challenge and that’s true, but it’s also a break from the Premier League. Playing different teams and going to different places is a prize we’ve earned after a good season last year.
Hangeland refused to blame Fulham’s midweek trip to Perm for their below-par performance in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
I’ve been fortunate enough to do it before in Norway and Denmark and I know it’s demanding, but 90 minutes of football twice a week should be possible. Of course we will have to cope with changes in the team, because we can’t expect to have the same team fit for all those games over the next three months. Everyone will have to be prepared to play.
It’s hard to say whether the midweek trip affected us at Villa. I’d like to think not, but we can all agree it wasn’t our best performance. They made more chances against us last year when we came away with a 0-0 draw. Perhaps we have to give them credit for being effective with their opportunities.
The Norway captain is glad that he will be staying at Fulham after no bids were received for him over the course of the summer transfer window – and will be relieved not to have to spend press conferences rebutting the same questions about his future.
Maybe in some ways it’s nice that it’s closed. There’s been quite a bit of speculation about where I’m going to play, but I’ve got used to that and it hasn’t stopped me focusing on what needs to be done on the pitch.