Murphy targets Europa progress

BY foxsports • December 16, 2009

Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy returns to Europa League action with the chance to rekindle some of the greatest memories of his career.

Murphy was part of the Liverpool team which beat Alaves 5-4 in golden-goal extra-time to win the 2001 UEFA Cup - the tournament's previous incarnation - and complete a memorable trophy treble.

Fulham will reach the last 32 of the newly-branded competition if they beat Swiss side FC Basle, where they would be joined by Liverpool and the seven other sides who have dropped out of the Champions League.

Murphy, who won eight England caps, said: "Winning the UEFA Cup is up there with anything I have done.

"The journey we went on to win it that year was immense because of the quality of the teams we played against and the fact we did it while we were in two other cup competitions as well.

"They are great memories. The final being so special, with the golden goal to make it 5-4, means it will live in the memory.

"It was certainly a wonderful memory and achievement. It is something we were very keen to win and I am sure in Liverpool's predicament now they would be very keen to win it again.

"Playing at places like Barcelona and Roma means it certainly wasn't a Mickey Mouse competition. We played some good teams - as we have with Fulham this time around.

"The journey this season has been great for players who haven't experienced it before. Hopefully that journey will continue after tonight's game."

Murphy could have been forgiven for studying the permutations and plotting Fulham's potential route to a European clash with Liverpool. But he has not given the prospect a second's thought and he warned Fulham not to get ahead of themselves - because anything other than a victory in Basle tonight and their European campaign is over.

"It would be a wonderful reward to play one of Europe's top teams and it is nice if you are in the draw to draw a bigger team from a different country," said Murphy, who is back after recovering from a long-standing knee injury.

"We get to play Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal regularly so if we were fortunate enough to get through I don't think drawing Liverpool would be as pleasing for the fans as one of the other teams dropping out of the Champions League.

"But I have been so focused on getting fit again that I don't allow myself to think that far ahead. As a club we have to be careful about thinking that way. We need to have a good Premiership campaign combined with the Europa League."

Fulham's chances have been hit by another injury setback to Andrew Johnson, who is still struggling to overcome a groin injury he first suffered two months ago.

Fulham are also without Simon Davies and Diomansy Kamara plus suspended trio Chris Baird, Erik Nevland and Paul Konchesky but they do have Murphy and Dickson Etuhu back in the midfield.

share story