Fulham & Hodgson : Pride In Defeat

It can be difficult not to patronize when talking up the merits of a club that has overachieved but in the case of Fulham there is nothing but genuine admiration for a side whose Europa League adventure ended in heartache but far from disgrace in Hamburg last night. An astonishing European campaign that began in July and ended in Hamburg 18 games later has made Fulham everybody's favourite second club.

Few would have predicted that Fulham can defy the odds to knockout European heavyweights Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and Hamburg en route to the final. A campaign that has seen Roy Hodgson and his players engraved their names in Fulham folklore.

Hodgson has proved his midas touch by transforming Bobby Zamora into a striker of genuine prowess. Similarly, he has revitalized the careers of Murphy, Simon Davies, Damien Duff and Aaron Hughes. It's a testimonial to his man-management ability.

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