Fulham striker Bobby Zamora has admitted it will be awkward to start next season early after gaining entry to the Europa League, but insists Fulham will be determined to make the most of the opportunity.
The Cottagers will be involved in continental competition after it was confirmed on Thursday they had been awarded the Premier League’s Fair Play spot.
They must start their campaign in the first qualifying round at the end of June, meaning Mark Hughes will have to reassemble his squad for pre-season training in just a few weeks.
Zamora recognises that a balance will have to be struck to ensure Fulham do not burn themselves out too quickly next season but are still able to acquit themselves well in Europe.
Having reached the final of the Europa League in 2009/10 under Roy Hodgson, the striker says Fulham would love to enjoy another long run in the tournament.
“It is early. I suppose we will be treating some of the games as pre-season games but obviously they are competitive and we want to win,” Zamora said.
“It is hard to get your head around those first couple of weeks but we will be trying our best.
“We had a great cup run last year and we relished it, loved it, and we would love to achieve half of what we did last year.
“We are going to go and enjoy it and do as well as we can.”
Zamora has not been able to start his summer break yet after being called up to the England squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland on 4th June.
But he is thrilled to be involved with the Three Lions after what he describes as an ‘up and down’ season.
“It has been a funny season for myself,” he said. “I started off really well and then I got injured, but I managed to finish well and scored a couple of goals, and I’m obviously delighted to be called back into the England squad.”