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Page last updated at 07:16 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 08:16 UK

Roy Hodgson defends Fulham selection against Everton

Mikel Arteta scores Everton's winner against Fulham
Mikel Arteta scored an injury-time penalty to earn Everton three points

Roy Hodgson said he would be "amazed" if the Premier League took action against Fulham for fielding a weakened team in their 2-1 loss to Everton.

The Fulham boss rested eight players ahead of their second leg Europa Cup match against Hamburg on Thursday.

Wolves were given a £25,000 fine in February for naming a weaker side in a 3-0 loss to Manchester United.

"If anything was to happen in that respect, I would be absolutely amazed," Hodgson told BBC Sport.

"We are going into dangerous ground when the Premier League decide whether teams are strong or not.

The game on Thursday is a much bigger priority than this one

Roy Hodgson

"I believe Hull City made six changes to their team [a 1-0 defeat by Sunderland] on Saturday, so I think I should be entitled to change players when I want to change them, especially given the situation we find ourselves in."

The Cottagers are one match away from reaching the Europa League final following an 0-0 draw in the first leg in Germany last week, made the more impressive following a 17-hour train and coach journey because of the air travel restrictions caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash impact.

For Sunday's match, Hodgson opted to rest key players Paul Konchesky, Aaron Hughes, Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu, Damien Duff, Zoltan Gera, Brede Hangeland and Simon Davies, while striker Bobby Zamora was sidelined with an Achilles injury.

However, Premier League rules state a full-strength side must be played in all top-flight games.

Wolves were adjudged to have broken those rules following in December after manager Mick McCarthy had made 10 team changes.

On Sunday, Fulham took the lead at Goodison Park through Erik Nevland, but a header from Victor Anichebe and an injury-time penalty from Mikel Arteta earned Everton all three points as they chase a Europa League place for next season.


Hodgson added: "The game on Thursday is a much bigger priority than this one.

"But I'm not at all convinced that if the same 11 players that played here had played in Hamburg whether we would have given a good an account of ourselves as we did.

"I would be amazed if, after the performance we have given against a strong Everton team, whether people would have the temerity to discuss our team selection.

"The Premier League will make the decisions it wants to make, all I can do is answer the question on whether we have a case to answer for letting them down or favouring the opponents by fielding a weaker team.

"I can stand here quite happily knowing that we haven't done that."

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see also
Everton 2-1 Fulham
25 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Hodgson worry over Zamora fitness
23 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hamburg 0-0 Fulham
22 Apr 10 |  Europe
Wolves fined over team selection
18 Feb 10 |  Wolves

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