Roy Hodgson has refuted suggestions that he’s played a weakened team in Europe – preferring to say that he has rotated his squad – and says he’s delighted with how well those who come into the Fulham line-up have performed.
I am very pleased with the performances in Europe. It has given players on the fringe a chance to show what they can do and we have become stronger as a group and stronger as a football club as a result of that. I would like to give players a chance to play all the time.
A win in Basel would extend Fulham’s European adventure and Hodgson will have to shuffle his pack again in Switzerland tonight as Chris Baird, Paul Konchesky and Erik Nevland are all suspended. The Fulham manager admits that the ‘lamentable’ refereeing his side have experienced has altered his attitude towards the competition.
The importance of the Europa League has changed in my mind. We will not be playing our best team – that’s the one we will put out against Manchester United on Saturday.
Thanks largely to the lamentable fate we have suffered at the hands of two referees when we have played Roma, we are obliged to make changes. When what happened to us, home and away against Roma, in any competition, it definitely takes the shine off and, to be frank, we didn’t enter the Europa League to win it anyway.