ATLETICO MADRID vs FULHAM
FIVE, tonight, ko 7.45pm
ROY HODGSON has his heart set on rewriting history when he leads Fulham to the greatest night in their 131-year history tonight.
The Cottagers will be looking to defy the odds again when they meet Atletico Madrid in the final of the Europa League at the Hamburg Arena.
At the same time, Hodgson is looking to become the first English manager to lift a European trophy in 13 years since the late Sir Bobby Robson led Barcelona to the Cup Winners Cup.
“To follow a manager like Bobby Robson would be fantastic because as you know, we were friends for many years,” Hodgson said.
“He was a great man, a great manager and it would be very nice to think I could follow him.”
Ironically, Hodgson led Inter Milan to the Uefa Cup final in that very same year, but the 63-year-old believes his efforts in guiding Fulham to this year’s final out-weights that of 1997.
The Cottagers have played no fewer than 18 matches to reach the showpiece, beating the likes of Juventus, Wolfsburg and holders Shakhtar Donetsk along the way.
“I was very proud to get to that final with Inter but I’m even prouder to be here with Fulham because we were much less fancied in the tournament than Inter were in 1997,” he said.
“Secondly we’ve had a tougher passage to the final. When I think back to the teams Inter eliminated along the way, they weren’t the big names that we’ve beaten here. I’m hoping the bad memories of 1997 will be expunged by a good victory.”
Hodgson, however, is sweating over the fitness of 19-goal top scorer Bobby Zamora, who missed training yesterday with an Achilles strain.