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.”