Aaron Hughes is hoping to send out a warning to the rest of Europe
by helping Fulham claim the scalp of Juventus in Thursday’s Europa
Hughes will lead out the Cottagers at the Stadio Olimpico di
Torino for the first leg of the last 16 tie.
Juventus are one of the giants of the Italian game but they
have not won a trophy since being relegated for their part in the
match fixing scandal in 2006 – and currently sit fifth in Serie A.
Conversely, Fulham are enjoying their most successful
European campaign in history and Hughes believes a win over the
Bianconeri could make everyone sit up and take notice of the west
“It would be a massive scalp,” said Hughes, who will lead the
side in the absence of the suspended Danny Murphy.
“Maybe they’re not in the best form at the moment but that
doesn’t make a difference as far as we’re concerned.
“If we could get something from the two legs and progress
then it would be a massive result for us.
“It would definitely stick out in the club’s history and a
few people across Europe would sit up and take note of the result.”
Thursday night’s game will be the Hughes’ 43rd game of the
season for Fulham, who have enjoyed cup success domestically as
well as in Europe.
The Cottagers face a tough trip to Old Trafford to face
Premier League leaders Manchester United on Sunday before hosting
Juve at Craven Cottage in the second leg.
Hughes admits he is starting to feel fatigued but is
nevertheless happy to allow his body to get through the remainder
of the month on adrenaline.
“Sometimes you get more mentally tired than you do
physically,” the 30-year-old said. “But you forget about the
tiredness when you’ve got Juventus on the Thursday followed by
Manchester United on a Sunday.
“If someone had told me when I was eight or nine years old
that in 20 years’ time you’d be playing Juve, Man United and then
Juve again, well I wouldn’t believe them. It’s something that we’re
all looking forward to.”
Fulham on Wednesday forfeited their right to train at the
stadium in an attempt to protect the pitch, which has been covered
in heavy snow.
Roy Hodgson’s side instead trained indoors at Juventus’
training ground and the 62-year-old admits preparations for the
match could have been better.
He said: “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 68 metres wide so I’ll take my chances.”