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Roy Hodgson praises dominant Fulham

Bobby Zamora (left), Danny Murphy (centre) and Simon Davies (right) celebrate
Zamora is congratulated by Danny Murphy and Simon Davies after his opener

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson felt his side were the dominant force in their 2-1 Europa League quarter-final first leg win over Wolfsburg on Thursday.

At 2-0, Fulham had control of the tie but Wolfsburg's late away goal makes for a tough second leg on 8 April.

"Wolfsburg are a good team. They have many good players, but I thought we made them look reasonably ordinary," Hodgson told ESPN.

"The European adventure continues and we have claimed another notable scalp."

Fulham dominated long periods of Thursday's first leg and deserved their victory, which extends their unbeaten European record at Craven Cottage.

Two goals in four second half minutes from Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff had seemingly given them a healthy lead to take to the Volkswagen Arena but Alexander Madlung's late header gives Wolfsburg a strong foothold in the tie.

"I don't know if we are favourites; we relinquished the chance to be favourites at 2-1," said Hodgson.

"I thought we played very well and were close, at the end of the game, to a famous 2-0 victory.

"The late goal, I suppose to some extent, has put a slight dampener on the performance but it shouldn't really because if before you offered me a victory in the game and to play well I would have accepted any score.

"I am not going to allow a last minute goal to dampen my enthusiasm for the game, and my belief in the players and the desire to work hard and deny the German champions."

The thing with Bobby now is that he is not just scoring goals against anyone, he is doing it against international class opponents

Roy Hodgson

During this season's Europa League campaign Fulham have already knocked out holders Shakhtar Donetsk and favourites Juventus.

While Thursday's game did not match these earlier matches for atmosphere or performance it did again showcase Fulham's ability to compete on the European stage.

Zamora outshone Wolfsburg's much-lauded strike-pairing of Edin Dzeko and Grafite, firstly curling in a superb opening goal and then teeing up Duff to fire in the second.

Hodgson admitted that the striker, who has 18 goals to his name this season, has significantly improved his game since last season.

"The thing with Bobby now is that he is not just scoring goals against anyone, he is doing it against international class opponents," said Hodgson.

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"Wolfsburg were worthy champions last year and after a dodgy start they have lost once in eight after knocking Villarreal out of the Europa League.

"Before that they'd gone seven unbeaten they are on a very good run and for Bobby to play well in the Europa League against teams of the character of Roma, Juventus, Basel, Shakhtar Donetsk and now Wolfsburg, it would be unfair for people to say he only does it in the Premier League."

Winger Duff admitted that the concession of the late away goal was "sloppy" but that the side should travel to Germany confident of finishing off the job.

"After the second goal we took our foot off the pedal and got a bit sloppy," said the Republic of Ireland international.

"They nicked the away goal which can be crucial, but we always back ourselves to score a goal over there. It's not a bad result and we can look forward to next Thursday."



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see also
Fulham 2-1 Wolfsburg
01 Apr 10 |  Europe
Thursday football as it happened
01 Apr 10 |  Football
Benfica 2-1 Liverpool
01 Apr 10 |  Europe


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