Friday 22 September 2017

Hodgson can't hide relish at Fulham's most notable week in decades

Jason Burt

ROY HODGSON is about to embark on one of the most significant weeks in Fulham's history, but he dismisses notions that what happens against Spurs today, in the FA Cup quarter-finals, and against Juventus on Thursday, in the last 16 of the Europa League, will define his time as the club's manager.

"I'm afraid, I will always preach: do a good job every week, work within your budget, stay in the Premier League and, if you are lucky enough to have the type of year we are having, then embrace it," said Hodgson.

The Fulham manager is not into the quick-fix, the day in the sun. Today, he faces Harry Redknapp, who won the FA Cup two years ago with Portsmouth, but at the cost of disastrous over-stretching.

Indeed the 62-year-old launches a staunch defence of Fulham's owner Mohamed Al-Fayed's cautious approach.

"A great businessman who wants us to do well and has invested heavily in the club," said Hodgson. "At the same time he has a very sensible business head and, like me, he does not want one moment of glory to be achieved by spending money that we cannot sustain. He wants sustainable success.

Extinction

"The success of Mohammed Al Fayed and Fulham is firstly saving the club from virtual extinction, and then getting them into the Premiership and keeping them there for nine solid years. That is a marvellous achievement. The true measure of a club's success is what it does week in, week out."

Nevertheless, the manager would love to win the FA Cup.

"It will be great for me and, more importantly, it will be great for this team and this club because many of these players have been good professionals for a number of years but they cannot really show you the CVs that their careers merit," he said.

Bobby Zamora is one of five former Spurs players in the Fulham ranks -- so is there extra motivation for them?

"When you meet an old club it's always a motivating factor -- but the chance to get to Wembley (for Fulham) for the first time in 25 years is motivation enough," said Hodgson.

There is clearly an excitement of what the next few days hold -- first Spurs, then Juve. For once, Hodgson's sober approach cracks.

"It's amazing that the two games are back to back," he said. "It's like when you are a kid and you get loads of sweets given to you at one time by your aunts and then you go weeks without seeing them again."

Fulham fans are in for a treat. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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