Gera admits expectations are high

The Cottagers continue to search for a new manager following

Hodgson’s departure to Liverpool. The 62-year-old former

Switzerland boss performed wonders during his time at the

west-London club, retaining their top-flight status in his first

season in charge before going on to reach the Europa League final

last season. Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who has

just left his post in charge of Ivory Coast following their World

Cup exit, and Croatia coach Slaven Bilic are believed to be the

leading contenders to take over. But Hungary midfielder Gera says

whoever takes over must look to at match last season’s impressive

performance on a consistent basis. “Hopefully we will get the new

manager in soon and achieve the same level of success over the next

few seasons,” Gera told the club’s official website. “The

expectations for next season are high – we had a great season last

year and if we could finish back in the top 10 this season that

would be perfect for us.” Caretaker boss Ray Lewington is set to

remain at the helm for Fulham’s opening pre-season friendly against

Brentford at Griffin Park next Wednesday. The Cottagers then head

to Bournemouth before flying out to Sweden where they will play

games against Halmstad and Malmo, two of Hodgson’s former clubs,

when a new boss is expected to be in place. Fulham open their

Barclays Premier League season at Bolton on August 14. Gera admits

the defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final still

hurts, but has urged his team-mates to use the loss as a

motivational tool. “It was a successful season last year, but the

final was very painful,” he said. “It was a great feeling to play

in the final – yes we lost, but I have good memories from the

competition. “Unfortunately we won’t be playing in the Europa

League this season but we need to play well and enjoy another good

season in the Premier League.” Fulham have already signed defender

Philippe Senderos this summer, with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer

linked with a switch the other way to Arsenal. American forward

Clint Dempsey is reported to be wanted by AC Milan after impressing

at the World Cup.