Europa League round-up: Clubs deserve more say on fixture list, insists Pulis

 

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The Independent Online

Tony Pulis feels it is "not right" Stoke have to continually play away games in the Premier League after their European matches, and thinks clubs should be able to discuss such issues with football authorities and television companies before the season starts.

Earlier this week Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson blamed television schedules for creating "ridiculous situations" for teams playing in Europe, suggesting that the vast amount of money pumped into football by broadcasters means clubs have lost control of their fixture lists.

Potters boss Pulis has similar complaints, finding it "unbelievable" that his side, having already followed up three Europa League fixtures with domestic away games, face the same scenario another five times this season.

"Television revenue has been of enormous value to football clubs in England," Pulis said ahead of Stoke's European clash with Besiktas tonight and league trip to Swansea on Sunday.

"But I also think there should be a chance for clubs, if they are in Europe, to sit down with the Premier League, the Football Association and the television companies and arrange the fixtures in a way that will help those clubs."

The Fulham manager Martin Jol admits this side must begin turning draws into victories, starting with today's Europa League tie at Odense BK. Fulham are the only Premier League side without a win this season and languish 17th in the table. "I think we will turn a corner somewhere," Jol said. "A draw is not a defeat. If we had four or five defeats it would have been a disaster." They travel to Denmark with a strong squad but both Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembélé remain in London to work on their fitness.

Neil Lennon has warned his Celtic defence against conceding yet another early goal in Europe when they take on Italian side Udinese, who are joint top of Serie A, at Celtic Park tonight. "It seems to be a running theme in the last few European games [losing an early goal]," he said. "We conceded early in Sion and in Madrid and you need maximum concentration in these games."

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