Hodgson proud of superb Fulham

Roy Hodgson praised the way his side responded to falling a goal down as they reached the Europa League Final by beating Hamburg 2-1 on aggregate in a thrilling semi-final encounter.

After drawing 0-0 in Germany last week, the Cottagers appeared to be exiting the competition when Mladen Petric gave the Bundesliga side the lead midway through the first half with a superb free-kick.

However, two goals in seven minutes by Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera ensured Fulham will play Atletico Madrid in next month's final less than 15 years after the club were playing in English football's fourth tier.

Veteran boss Hodgson admitted:"This club has had some bad times and we've looked into the abyss once or twice. Everyone is proud that we're about to start our tenth Premier League season.

"And to have reached a Europa League final – and I don't care if you're Fulham or one of the top four – is an outstanding achievement. That will be recognised by everyone.

"I can only enjoy the moment and make sure that the glory on the players is not deflected elsewhere. We're in the final because we've played very, very well throughout and knocked out some very difficult teams, not least Hamburg.

"It's been a wonderful journey that I'm really proud of. The team have produced better football than we're entitled to ask of them. It was a great performance because it would have been so easy for us to lose our heads after the great goal they scored.

"I thought we were good value for our victory and the character of this team has been proved time and time again. Normally success softens you and makes you less determined but that hasn't been the case with this team throughout this season.

"It's been an amazingly long season yet watching the players run around in the second half it didn't look as though we'd played 59 games this season."

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