Hughes: Blues should fear Fulham

BY foxsports • May 14, 2011

A Maxi Rodriguez hat-trick and further goals from Dirk Kuyt - the Reds' third after just 16 minutes - and Luis Suarez stunned Hughes' men at Craven Cottage. "That was a real shock to us - we didn't see that coming," commented Hughes. "But since the turn of the year we have been fantastic and that was an anomaly we must put behind us and learn from. "In terms of motivating the players that performance has made it easier for the last two games." Fulham, 10th in the Premier League, visit Birmingham and then finish the season at home to Arsenal next Sunday. Hughes continued: "When you have a significant defeat you look at who did well and who didn't. That happens after every game, whether the result was positive or negative. I have a lot of options - there are not many missing through injury." Bobby Zamora and Simon Davies have to clear up fitness doubts first, though. "Bobby didn't complete training on Friday because he was suffering from soreness in his groin," said Hughes. "We pulled him out as a precaution and we're hopeful that will settle down. "Simon got a kick on his calf against Liverpool and there was localised bleeding, so he hasn't trained since the match. "Having worked him with the physiotherapists on Friday we're hopeful that as long as the area doesn't bleed he'll have a chance." Hungarian Zoltan Gera is available again, with Hughes commenting: "Zolly has missed a couple of weeks' training but he's back now, he's trained and he's fit, so he should be okay." Relegation-threatened Birmingham's last match next weekend is away to Tottenham and Hughes commented: "They are not safe yet and until you are it's a worry and you are still looking over your shoulder. "They will feel this is their best opportunity to get the job done. We have just got to make sure we perform. "We want to finish in that top 10 if we can and then we will be able to look back on the season and ahead to next season with real confidence. "We've got the basis of a good team. I am very clear in how far we can go as a club - it's fair to say there is a glass ceiling for clubs in a similar position - but that does not mean it's not challenging." And the challenges of next season could well include the Europa League again for last year's beaten finalists. England are set to be awarded a spot under the UEFA Fair Play scheme and Fulham, the only side in the Premier League not to have had a player sent off this year, are neck-and-neck with Tottenham just behind Chelsea - already certain of the Champions League, of course. Hughes can see pluses and minuses to qualifying. There is the fixture congestion and the fact that they could be in action after just four days of pre-season training, but he added: "If we get in we will try to progress as far as we can. "It's not a case of dreading it - we should embrace it - but it just makes it difficult early on. You could argue that both sides balance themselves out."

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