Hodgson happy to court Old Lady

Hodgson’s side will take on the Serie A giants in the first leg of
their Europa League last 16 match at the Stadio Olimipico di Torino
on Thursday night. The match against the Old Lady represents a new
high for the Cottagers, whom Hodgson took over in December 2007
when the club was facing the very real threat of relegation.
Hodgson has already guided the west London side through their best
ever European campaign, and now hopes a win over Juve tomorrow will
herald a new era in the club’s history. “Given our position when I
came to the club in 2007 I don’t think many people would have
actually given any credence to the fact that we’d be this far
forward now in our development,” the former Inter Milan boss said.
“Apart from appearing in the last vestiges of the Intertoto Cup, we
haven’t had any European history so we are making history as we go
along. “The history we are making this year is a very important
step in the club’s history and one which I hope will provide that
stronger foundation that which clubs like ourselves need to make.
“These adventures in Europe can help us in terms of us becoming a
stronger football club but we have a long way to go, mind, before
we match the Inter Milans, the Juves and the Milans.” Fulham’s
preparations for the match have been hit by bad weather in the
northern Italian city. Snow storms have meant that the Cottagers
had to call off their training session at the stadium and instead
could only train for an hour indoors at Juve’s training complex in
Vinovio. Hodgson admits preparations have not been ideal for the
match, but believes that will not ruin his side’s chances of
victory tomorrow against an injury-hit Juve side who currently sit
fifth in Serie A. “I went to look at the pitch at the stadium this
afternoon,” said Hodgson. “Juventus made it clear that if we
insisted on training, as we have the right to do from UEFA, that
they would take off the covers and allow us to train on it but it
was obvious to me that that would be counter productive. “It won’t
be a good pitch with all that bad weather. It will be difficult and
will cut up badly but it’s not a drawback, not enormously. It can’t
be that bad. It will be 105 metres long by 68m wide so I’ll take my
chances.” Hodgson is making his return to a country where he had
three successful spells in club management. The 62-year-old managed
Inter Milan twice, from 1995-97 and in 1999, before taking over at
Udinese. The Cottagers boss admits Italy holds a fond place in his
heart and has not ruled out a return to management in the country.
“Could I work here again? Why not? you never know what’s going to
happen to you in football, Hodgson said. “The two spells I had with
Inter were enjoyable. Who knows what will happen in the future but
it’s not something I’m thinking about at the moment. I’m happy
doing what I’m doing at Fulham and recently renewed my contract.”