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Pain and pride for Fulham's Hodgson

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Phil McNulty | 06:53 UK time, Thursday, 13 May 2010

Hamburg

Roy Hodgson did everything in his power to let pride dull the pain but it was a futile exercise, condemned to join Fulham's Europa League final defeat as a gallant failure.

The wound inflicted by Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan, just four minutes from the conclusion of a 63-game season stretching back 10 months to the start of Fulham's European odyssey in Lithuania, was still too raw.

Hodgson, as decent in defeat as in victory, tried to find solace for himself and his players, who have captured the imagination of the nation and beyond with their European exploits.

Pride will come, as it must, but as Hodgson sat in Hamburg's Nordbank Arena to reflect on the sad end to this remarkable Fulham story, there was no consolation.

He admitted: "It doesn't matter how much comfort I try to find, there is not a lot to be found. It is difficult for me to find any real joy and enthusiasm - and you would be surprised if my attitude was anything else in among the bitter disappointment and great sadness at seeing another good performance go unrewarded."

Hodgson admitted on the eve of the game that if Fulham were to lose he hoped it would be to the better team and not as a fallen victim to the fates. The Cottagers were beaten by the better team in Atletico, but the agony still looked almost unbearable.

As the final whistle sounded and Atletico's substitutes and staff sprinted on to the pitch to join the celebrations, Hodgson turned to shake the hands of his trusted backroom and support staff, as well as those who had not figured in the final.

He then consoled the tearful Zoltan Gera and stopped to tend to other players slumped heartbroken on the rain-sodden turf, players who had once again given everything only to run out of fuel just inches from the finish line. Mutual respect.

Hodgson embraces goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer after the gameHodgson embraces goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer after the game. Photo: AFP

Hodgson lavished praise on the men who almost made up for another night of torment in this competition. Thirteen years ago, his Inter Milan side lost the Uefa Cup final on penalties, beaten by Schalke 04 in the San Siro.

This whole Europa League run is rightly a source of pride to Fulham, not just because of deeds on the pitch and victories against teams of the calibre of Shakhtar Donestk, Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg.

Fulham's supporters have played their part in adding colour and atmosphere to a competition that is viewed by many as the Champions League's unloved brother. That opinion is not shared at Craven Cottage, where "Stand Up If You Still Believe" has become an enduring anthem.

Hodgson's tactical acumen makes him aware of the fine margins that decide major finals - and Fulham lost because Atletico had two strikers of genuine menace in Forlan and Sergio Aguero, while their own main weapon was operating below 100%.

Bobby Zamora could not have given more, but this was not the man who spearheaded Fulham's campaign earlier this season. His lingering Achilles tendon injury meant his race was run by 55 minutes. How Hodgson needed him fully fit.

Fulham were also, more than usual, guilty of carelessness in possession. Rare indeed - but it is churlish to aim any harsh criticism at the team when all serious expectations in Europe were exceeded long ago.

Forlan entered the media arena moments after Hodgson's departure to receive his man-of-the-match award, still in his kit and draped in a club flag. What a charming and polite chap. What a gigantic pain in the neck if you are a Premier League club.

The Uruguayan is the smiling assassin of a striker. Not content with wrecking Liverpool's hopes in the semi-finals, he scuppered Fulham's fairytale with two poacher's goals either side of an equaliser from Simon Davies.

Forlan seems too nice to carry a grudge, but he seems intent on making Premier League opposition pay for his fruitless time at Manchester United. If we did not rate him then, he is going to make sure we rate him now.

Diego Forlan - a deadly striker and perfectly nice blokeDiego Forlan - a deadly striker and perfectly nice bloke. Photo: AP

For brief spells of a largely undistinguished final, especially at the start of the second half, Fulham looked like they would have the finale of their dreams. But the double act of Forlan and Aguero proved too much.

Talk swiftly turned to Hodgson's own future in the aftermath of defeat, but he reassured Fulham's supporters that his plan was to be at Craven Cottage next season.

There is no escaping the reality that his work this season, not to mention his experience and expertise gained over decades, may make him a target for other clubs this summer.

And with no chance of a repeat of the European run that added such gloss to this campaign, there is a school of thought that Fulham could be vulnerable to an approach for their manager. Hodgson and his players will undoubtedly miss what the Europa League has given them this season.

It is a debate for another day, but the other side of the argument is that Hodgson is nobody's fool and he will know he has a good thing going at Fulham. He is too sensible to sacrifice it lightly.

Fulham's feats saw partisan Premier League fans unite behind a common cause to wish them well against Atletico, this fact alone illustrating the range of their achievement.

The final fling ended in failure. Defeat yes, but not a shred of disgrace.

Fulham and Hodgson may have left the Nordbank Arena empty-handed and without a trophy to show for their efforts this season, but rarely has a season without silverware been such an outstanding success.

You can follow me at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I thought, because Fulham failed to win this, they got the european place for winning the fair play award? I thought they were above Burnley which meant Burnley would have gotten it if Fulham had won...?

  • Comment number 2.

    This was an outstanding season for them. It'd have been the pinnacle if they'd won the final, but they have certainly pushed above their weight.

  • Comment number 3.

    Until Fulham scored I thought they were dead and buried. That they showed such grit and resilience not just to come back but to threaten Altletico's goal through the second half and extra time was fantastic to watch.

    As a Gooner, commiserations to them and their fans: they have done the Premiership and England football proud. To my mind Hodgson is one of England's best managers, if not also Europe's best. I suspect his rating abroad is much higher than in England.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good Blog, and unlucky Fulham. For some parts of the second half it looked like Fulham might snatch another goal, but as you said Aguero and Forlan are just too good a partnership. Condelences from a Chelsea fan.

  • Comment number 5.

    James @ #1 - England aren't getting a fair play place this year because we've dropped out of the top three leagues in UEFA's fair play table. Think the places are going to a few Scandinavian countries?

    Bad luck to Fulham, can't pretend that I have any special connection with them but the victory over Juve was the best footballing night of the year for me (I'm a Bristol City fan, which should explain that) and have been rooting for them since the start of the Tournament. Credit to all the fans that made the trip.

  • Comment number 6.

    I would like to Congratulate Fulham on whats been a great season for them. I don't think anybody expected them to get anywhere near the final, espicially as some of the teams they were given were some of the favourites for the entire tournament.

    63 games might have been just too much for them though, and maybe things would have been slightly different if BIG Z was playing. Unfortunatly history doesnt remember 2nd place, but if theres an exception to that, it definatly Fulham.

    Also Congratulations to Roy Hodgson for an amazing season with them, great manager and looks like a genuinly stand up guy.

  • Comment number 7.

    Fulham supporters, how much of a difference would a fully fit Bobby Zamora have made? He ran his heart out when he was on the pitch, but was clearly not operating at full throttle.

    The Fulham supporters I have spoken to in our hotel this morning are, as you would expect, bitterly disappointed but proud of their side and admit this was something they could never have imagined back in July.

    It's tough to look forward now, but how much confidence will this run give Fulham for the next domestic season?

  • Comment number 8.

    great blog
    I felt deeply sorry for fulham last night...with their small squad they couldnt really afford for damian duff and zamora not to be fully fit...even a half fit zamora looked more dangerous than erik nevland...roy hodgson has worked wonders this year, i hope he stays at fulham and they continue to progress...fulham played well but athletico just had too much up top like you said phil..i was very impressed with aguero who looked immense last night..they tried to double up on him all night but he was just too hot to handle!

  • Comment number 9.

    "And with no chance of a repeat of the European run that added such gloss to this campaign"

    -------------------------------

    Yep i just checked and Fulham have won the fair play award so they are garenteed a place in Europe next year which means the above statement either forgot that or beleives fulham have no chance of repeating this years endeavors.

    It was painful to watch zamora as he was so dangerous when the ball was in and around him and i really believe if he was fit fulham would have won which is such a shame. But it also highlighted just how nevland is only good for a team ranked around 12th in the premiership... solid but no great ball skills and no great pace to make up for it. When he came on fulham were playing with 10.

  • Comment number 10.

    Unlucky Fulham that was a very cruel way to lose the final!!


    Save QOTW & ROTW!!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Diego woh oh oh oh
    Diego Woh oh oh oh
    He came from Uruguay
    And made Lilly Allen Cry

  • Comment number 12.

    Well done boys, you did us all proud. So so heartbroken, but give it two seasons we will be flying high again in Europe.

    What a great team, what a great manager we have.

    You have gone well above expectations, so for that I am grateful.

    In Roy we trust.

    COYW!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Funnily enough, that was only Atletico Madrid's THIRD win in 15 European games this season. Fulham won EIGHT out of 15.

    Still, Atletico played well and deserved the trophy.

    I also have a sneaking suspicion that Fulham will be flirting with relegation next season.

  • Comment number 14.

    There must be some upset Fulham fans waking up this moring... Fulham was the best team but Athletico just had players to punish a team.
    Fulham had more than enough chances to finish off Madrid and they just couldn't.. There legs just couldn't hold out and Diego punished them for it.
    Thats how it goes in Europe. But you have to take your hat off to the way Fulham have performed overall.. Amazing... Who thought that Fulham would have gone all the way beating the teams they did and giving a great team like Athletico a game like they did.. Even in defete they should keep there heads up because Diegos winning goal wasn't exactly amazing...

  • Comment number 15.

    Despite last nights result, Fulham football club and everyone connected to it can hold their heads high with pride. The disappointment may be hard to take right now and they may be feeling totally gutted, but their European exploits have been very, very impressive.

    Something that often irritates me is when the runners-up are referred to as losers. To be called a loser after such a great achievement to get that far is an absolute insult.

    Fulham football club are certainly no losers.

  • Comment number 16.

    Gutted that we lost to two goals that had a great slice of luck about them, the first from a mis hit shot and the second that was going wide until the deflection.

    Having said that was well proud of the way we performed, kept our shape, never panicked, even when we went behind and how diginified Roy was in defeat. Also hats of to Forlan for the way he comiserated with the Fulham players before going off to celebrate with his own players.

    At the beginning of the season, none of us Fulham fans would have believed it if you said we would have reached the final, We were 1000-1 just to do that before the competition even started!

    Who knows what would have happened had Bobby Zamora been fully fit, but at least he has been honest enough to tell Capello that he could not have played for England in the World Cup without injections, which as we saw last night and in the Semi against Hamburg are only good enough for 50 minutes of football.

    Hopefully we can push on from this next season, and who knows, if we can start to win some more games away from home, we might be pushing for European place again.

    Thanks to all the supporters from other clubs who have left messages of support in the last few days and weeks, it's a shame we didn't win, but the feeling of disappointment is soon to replaced by one of immense Pride and when we look back, we will have some great memories from this seasons Europa League.

  • Comment number 17.

    Athletico were worthy winners: Forlan and Aguero were the dominant standout players. But well done to Fulham on playing their part in the final and giving a tough team a tough game. And it could so easily have gone their way.

    When Celtic were beaten by Porto in the UEFA final I was gutted for days afterwards so for fans I know how disappointing defeat can be. But hopefully many of them, despite the defeat, will have had a night to remember irrespective of the outcome.

  • Comment number 18.

    Fulham were on the verge of making massive history for Fulham FC. But unfortunately Fulham came out on the wrong side in the Final. Atletico Madrid was the better team over the whole match will more chances. Fulham fans will b very pleased with Fulham's progress in the Europa League despite losing in the Final! Lets hope Fulham have a better season in 2010-2011 season!
    Fulham is one of the small clubs in the premiership and for then to reach the Europa League final. Fulham fans will be extremely pleased!Fulham have one of the best managers in the world and he was the key for Fulham to reach the Final!

  • Comment number 19.

    A well penned article Phil, addressing the merits mainly of Hodgson but also the tale of two strikers we had on view last night.

    I thought Zamora was fantastic, I have never been his biggest fan, but the european game has really suited him, and I can't help but think the international scene would have too. Where possession is key, the man can link up play brilliantly, and always keeps the ball and bring others into play. He also has the odd explosive shot in his armoury too. Sadly, all this has come about 7 years too late. He has a tenacious side too which is important, without the recklessness that sees him sent off or misbehaving on field too often, a perfect balance.

    As for Forlan, the man has proved that he is a top class striker and banished all painfl memories of his time in england. It didn't work out for him at Man Utd. Just like it didn't work out for Riquelme at Barcelona, or Robben at Real Madrid. This doesn't make you a bad player.

    He does seem a genuine guy, and I believe a lot of his ability is gained through hard work than natural talent. Something probably instilled by his father. The bottom line is, he takes his chances. He ended the european dream in 2005 for my team, unfortunatley for Fulham, he also ended theirs last night.

    Fulham should be very proud. Unfortunately I feel these is only one way for this ageing squad now, which is why Hodgson should bow out at the top and finish his magnificent career with another top club.

  • Comment number 20.

    James @ # 9 - Fulham aren't in Europe next year - they may have finished top of the English Fair Play league, but England finished fourth in the European Fair Play league, so they don't get a place. Cruel, but true.

    Fulham were magnificent all season and it's a credit to the small squad they have how well they have done. Well done.

  • Comment number 21.

    Gooner in peace. First of all, I was supporting Fulham last night, with all my heart and of course Fulham should be proud of getting to the final (yes, I was envious) but I thought they didn't play well and didn't deserve to win. It was poor quality.....from both teams but Fulham were very negative and had about 2 shots on goal in 120 minutes. I was very disappointed. They played much better in the second half against Hamburg at Craven Cottage. Just pumping long balls up to Bobby Zamora....Don't get me wrong, I know they couldn't compete on skill with Atletico - and it would probably have been suicide to try - but what about showing a bit more AMBITION to actually win the game? I just couldn't understand - when you have players like Zamora and Hangeland - why Fulham didn't go down the wings and put some balls into their big players. Can anyone explain this to me?

    So yes, OF COURSE, Fulham did extremely well to get to the final and of course they should be proud, etc. (that goes without saying - I'm only saying it so that people on this site don't slate me) but they didn't play well last night and I found that very frustrating. I thought Atletico were there for the taking in the second half but Fulham showed no ambition to go and win it.

  • Comment number 22.

    I really wanted Fulham to win this but deep down i never thought they'd beat Athletico, in part because Zamora was injured, hes been that important for them. However, i got frustrated watching some of Fulham's players constantly giving the ball away. Paul Konchesky was seriously at fault for this and in fact it was his cheap giveaway of the ball that ultimately led to the 1st goal. Murphy and Davis on occasions being guilty of the same thing at times.

    This played a big part in their defeat.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think BBC and other media in general didn’t give Fulham the support and the right coverage they need before the final match, now after they lost, BBC trying to compensate and show some sympathy for Fulham!!!!!....

  • Comment number 24.

    Hmmm, yes defeat here won't take the shine off, Fulham have achieved that by finishing 12th in the league, FIVE PLACES worse than last season. When will you lot in the media get real instead of over-reactive to every success/failure. Fulham have had a good B-level cup run in an otherwise very average season.

  • Comment number 25.

    THIS MEANS BURNLEY WILL NOT PLAY IN EUROPE NEXT SEASON!

  • Comment number 26.

    James @ # 9 - Fulham aren't in Europe next year - they may have finished top of the English Fair Play league, but England finished fourth in the European Fair Play league, so they don't get a place. Cruel, but true.

    Fulham were magnificent all season and it's a credit to the small squad they have how well they have done. Well done.

    -----------------------

    Thats a shame :(, i take back my previous comments then. Must have been a very small margin. Nobody has yet discussed this but who should fulham sign next year to continue to be a force worth reckoning with?

  • Comment number 27.

    It's no disgrace but the better side won on the night; the considerably better, more potent side. Get over it.

    Hodgson has of course nonetheless worked wonders on very little. But they should've given him the Manager of the Season Award if he'd actually won the tournament, not just got to the final. Otherwise McLaren should've got it a few years ago wih Middlesborough.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hodgson's tactical acumen makes him aware of the fine margins that decide major finals - and Fulham lost because Atletico had two strikers of genuine menace in Forlan and Sergio Aguero, while their own main weapon was operating below 100%.

    ............................
    Phil, thats inaccurate !!!
    Fulham lost because atletico are a better team than Fulham, and played better on the night (with or without a fully fit zamora ).. I know this is common practice in britain, but dont make excuses for defeat !
    well done fulham for getting to the final though !

  • Comment number 29.

    I think it's a testament to Fulham as a club that almost everyone in the country was behind them last night. Can we send them to the World Cup instead?

  • Comment number 30.

    #23 imado

    Good point. If this was a 'bigger' team, then we would have had live text throughout the day informing us of every pint drunk and fart heard.

    Phil, you say 'a competition that is viewed by many as the Champions League's unloved brother'. Isn't it a self fulfilling prophecy when you do the same?

    As for Fulham, bad luck. I only saw a little of the game (due to reception issues with Channel 5 in the south east) but I gather you were second best. For you fans, it will go down as a good season.

    Outside of that though, and talk of how they will strengthen, I wonder how the finances of Fulham compare to Athletico Madrid. If we knew that, perhaps this achievement can be brought into a better context.

  • Comment number 31.

    24. At 10:24am on 13 May 2010, hackerjack wrote:
    Hmmm, yes defeat here won't take the shine off, Fulham have achieved that by finishing 12th in the league, FIVE PLACES worse than last season. When will you lot in the media get real instead of over-reactive to every success/failure. Fulham have had a good B-level cup run in an otherwise very average season.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You're a load of fun aren't you? I'm sorry Fulham didn't do very well in the Premiership. Maybe playing loads of games with a small squad and loads of injuries meant they didn't have the ability to win that many games, especially late in the season. They'll try harder next season for you. OK?

    Thought they did brilliantly last night. Pity Zamora wasn't on great form/fit (neither was Murphy in my opinion) but they tried their hearts out and could have snatched it (which would've been very lucky!). Etuhu, who I've never rated, had a great game.

    COYW. I've loved this season - being hammersmith end for the Juve match I'll never forget. And how we beat Shaktar is still beyond me. Funnily enough, the worst team in the knockout stages we played has to have been Hamburg.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sorry to all the fulham fans, always sad to loose in a final, but they were beaten by the better team on the night. But at least you can look back at the home leg against Juve as one the best european come backs ever.

    Save QOTW & ROTW!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    what was with the Colchester United flag behind the goal, i think, and i certainly saw a Bristol City flag???

  • Comment number 34.



    For people who keep mentioning Burnley or the Fair Play league. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 35.

    Commiserations to Fulham..it was a fantastic cup run - full of dramatic twists and turns.Roy Hodgson's comments, demeanor and general conduct throughout the entire campaign was always gracious and respectful (very Bobby Robson'esque) and a pleasant change from the goading, winging and vitriolic approach preferred by majority of his peers; then it might have been a privelege of always being in the position of 'underdog'?

    On a note of caution..remember Middlesborough made the same final a few years back? It it doesn't always follow that a club will necessarily kick-on from a great cup run. A few players such as S.Davies, Z.Gera and D.Murphy (all excellent last night) look to be feeling their legs a bit.

    On the positive front however, now M. Al-Fayed has made a Billion out of selling Harrods maybe the club might see some decent investment on the transfer front together with the money raised from the Europa Lg and selling C.Smalling to Utd? A bit more pace to be added perhaps?

  • Comment number 36.

    as a Liverpool in London who has a season ticket to Fulham for cheap and easy football watching, this was painful. Forlan. Again.

  • Comment number 37.

    a very poor Atletico fairly won the cup against a decent Fulham that did as much as they could.
    Simao, Reyes, R. Garcia, Perea had a terrible day, Kun and Forlan made the difference.
    I'm sorry for Hogdson, people like him or O'Neil are examples of gentlemen in football.

  • Comment number 38.

    Such a shame that Fulham couldn't win last night but Atletico Madrid are a class act when they want to be and they have players capable of those moments of magic. It will be interesting to see how they progress next season and whether they can put together a similar run.

    http://the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 39.

    How do people feel about the fact that the competition was won by a team that qualified by failing in the Champions League?

    Fair play to Diego though - he showed a lot of class on and off the pitch. He looks to have everything - pace, power, skill. I'd love to see him have another crack in the Premiership. He'll cost somebody a lot of money though.



  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    Hugh Grant and Lily Allen's final whistle pain was palpable

  • Comment number 42.

    unlucky, i've got to say... so, so close, and without a fit Zamora or Duff (2nd biggest threat?), and without a strong showing from Murphy for some reason, who normally pulls the strings...he'll be disappointed with his performance.

    unlucky that the first goal wasn't ruled out for offsides... it was very tight, but those are given more often than not... seems we got the rare brave linesman!

    unlucky to lose to 2 crap goals while we scored a brilliant volley from Davies... agree that Forlan/Aguero were class, but i'd rather have lost to some quality goals and not dumb luck.

  • Comment number 43.

    el_nino_81 wrote:
    How do people feel about the fact that the competition was won by a team that qualified by failing in the Champions League?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    annoyed.
    that's the most bass ackwards rule since the advent of penalties and away goals as ways to decide football matches... classic UEFA/FIFA illogic.

  • Comment number 44.

    Terry Toil#41 wrote: Hugh Grant and Lily Allen's final whistle pain was palpable

    Unless of course Hugh Grant really is good actor? You are right though I would have prefered it if Lily had a 'Smile' instead ;)

  • Comment number 45.


    lets face it,

    last night we totally fell short!!!

    while i really praise the boys/club for achieving FAR BEYOND ANYONE's expectations, getting this far in the competition, i also cannot fail to point out that PROGRESS too has GREAT CONSEQUENCES (raised expectations) attached to it...

    we were just not good enough, giving the ball away carelessly, almost always being the second (even third) at chasing or attacking the ball.

    its just too fair that Atletico won.

    i still wonder what went wrong.....i haven't seen fulham play with so much inferiority complex as last night.

    i almost had a heart attack in the last 15 minutes of the first 90 minutes.

    we fell short....and that's the fact!!!



  • Comment number 46.

    Cant wait to see what the likes of City, Liverpool and Villa will be able to do in the Europa next season

  • Comment number 47.

    Denis the Genius wrote.

    annoyed.
    that's the most bass ackwards rule since the advent of penalties and away goals as ways to decide football matches... classic UEFA/FIFA illogic.
    _____________________________________________________________________

    I agree FIFA and UEFA are very backward thinking organisations but you know these games used to be decided by a toss of a coin if it was all square?

  • Comment number 48.

    There wasn't much in it in the end. I think the lack of European football next year, will see Fulham back in the top 10 easily. Hope they get some tasty signings just for fun. Zamora needs someone to help him out up front.

  • Comment number 49.

    I agree FIFA and UEFA are very backward thinking organisations but you know these games used to be decided by a toss of a coin if it was all square?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    ha - so you're saying nothing's changed! PKs are nothing more than a drawn-out, agonizing coin toss, and there's absolutely NOTHING more difficult in scoring a goal on someone else's pitch.

    didn't intend to change the topic, or take away from Fulham's achievement, but it's just not OK to allow a team that's failed in one competition (Atletico in this case) to comfort itself (and pad it's wallet) in another simultaneous competition... i'm surprised FIFA isn't granting free passage through to the knockout stages to the World Cup holders!

    anyway... walk tall Cottagers!

  • Comment number 50.

    A very unlucky night for Fulham, but Roy and the players have not only done the club proud but the whole country.
    Remember after beating Hamburg in the semis they were the last team from the orginal entrants, and Madrid only got into the competition through the back door failing in the Champions league a very stupid rule???

  • Comment number 51.

    Its a shame that Hodgson is only now really getting recognition in England - he has always been a class act.

  • Comment number 52.

    I enjoyed the football final and I think the better team won the match although both goals for A. Madrid were rather fortunate, but thats fooball. I would like to know why Murphy opted to just kick the ball out of touch giving the ball away which resulted in the winning goal for Madrid.He had several options including a pass to the goal keeper.

  • Comment number 53.

    Better team won. mid to bottom teams cant compete at this level.luck luck luck

  • Comment number 54.

    great point, #53 - Fulham couldn't compete with Atletico, that's why the result was never in doubt at any point in the 120+ minutes, right?

    slow 'round here, in more ways than one!

  • Comment number 55.


    DenistheGenius wrote:

    great point, #53 - Fulham couldn't compete with Atletico, that's why the result was never in doubt at any point in the 120+ minutes, right?

    slow 'round here, in more ways than one!
    ==============================================================

    he forgets the teams fulham beat to get ther as well. juventus, hamburg, wolfsburg, shaktar. i'd love their kind of "luck"

  • Comment number 56.

    well it just shows that spain's second tier teams are the best .. fulham were simply outplayed . they had no dimension . looked out of ideas . but still an achievement for a squad like them to get to the final .

  • Comment number 57.

    I'm not a Fulham fan but I was disappointed that they were unable to win the UEFA Europa League, as I always support English clubs in Europe (with one notable exception!).
    Fulham's achievement in reaching a major European Final was quite outstanding though.
    They became the 19th British club (and 15th English club) to have participated in a European Final since 1955-56...

    http://www.myfootballfacts.com/British_Clubs_In_Europe_Order_Of_Merit.html

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree that the loss should not take the shine off of a great season for Fulham, but what does take the shine off of it is that he didn't get manager of the season, this went to a manager who has spent 150 million and just crept into the top 4, thats injustice in my book.

  • Comment number 59.

    31. At 11:26am on 13 May 2010, normec wrote:

    24. At 10:24am on 13 May 2010, hackerjack wrote:
    Hmmm, yes defeat here won't take the shine off, Fulham have achieved that by finishing 12th in the league, FIVE PLACES worse than last season. When will you lot in the media get real instead of over-reactive to every success/failure. Fulham have had a good B-level cup run in an otherwise very average season.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You're a load of fun aren't you? I'm sorry Fulham didn't do very well in the Premiership. Maybe playing loads of games with a small squad and loads of injuries meant they didn't have the ability to win that many games, especially late in the season. They'll try harder next season for you. OK?

    ------------------------

    Sure they had reasons/excuses. I just don't see why people are falling over themselves to give over the top credit (manager of the year for Hodgson) to Fulham for doing a good job in a cup competition whiel going backwards in the league.

  • Comment number 60.

    How do people feel about the fact that the competition was won by a team that qualified by failing in the Champions League?
    ---------------

    As opposed to being won by one who failed to even qualify for the Champions League? What's the difference?

  • Comment number 61.

    They never have much luck against the red n whites...........

  • Comment number 62.

    60. At 10:42am on 14 May 2010, hackerjack wrote:
    As opposed to being won by one who failed to even qualify for the Champions League? What's the difference?
    ---------------
    I suppose the difference being Fulham were in the Europa League from the start of the competition. Atletico entered the competition via the "back door" midway through because they weren't good enough for the Champions League, so were allowed to come and bully some of Europe's lesser teams, instead.

  • Comment number 63.

    60. At 10:42am on 14 May 2010, hackerjack wrote:
    As opposed to being won by one who failed to even qualify for the Champions League? What's the difference?
    ---------------
    I suppose the difference being Fulham were in the Europa League from the start of the competition. Atletico entered the competition via the "back door" midway through because they weren't good enough for the Champions League, so were allowed to come and bully some of Europe's lesser teams, instead.

    ---------------

    I agree it was easier for a Champions League team to win against the Europa League teams . I believe once you are out of the Champions League you shudnt be allowed to contest in the Europa League . Its unfair on the teams who came all the way through each round qualifying while a club like Atletico, who were pretty awful in the UCL have still managed to win a trophy ..

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm Fulham and I'm proud.

    Had a fantastic time in Hamburg - Shame about the result but wouldn't have missed it for the world

    (Could have done without the airport chaos though - even the pilots were wandering around looking for their planes so we had no chance).

  • Comment number 65.

    Tell you one thing that is so nice about this cup run, despite the disappointment of the final, is that Fulham's league form has not suffered too badly. You look at other teams that have gone in for the Europa/Uefa competition and have had dramatic fall-offs in league performance. With the emergence of Man City, Spurs doing much better, Everton and Birmingham having a freak season Fulham have pretty much got the league position they deserve/are capable of. No offence to Brum fans, hope the team proves me wrong by performing similar heroics next season.

  • Comment number 66.


    Nice article by Phil. Europa League too is a tough competition. Fulham had a fantastic campaign. The players and their coach won the hearts of many with their never-say-die spirit. Let's wish them well in the new season.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 67.

    If you're still gutted, stand up!

    I think all at Fulham are now desperate to win something. I imagine with Woy Woy Woy now fully trustng his squad we will make a great effort in the Cup competitions and Premiership next season.

    A real shame Duff and Zamora were still injured for the cup final AND Murphy not quite there either. It would have been great to see a full strength team take on what was Atleticos.

    Next season you whites!

 

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