Europe not a distraction for Fulham says Hodgson
Roy Hodgson has denied the Europa League is a distraction as the Fulham boss prepares to alter his selection policy for tomorrow's clash with Basle.
The Cottagers named a weakened side for their Group E opener against CSKA Sofia but still left the Bulgarian capital with a creditable 1-1 draw.
Damien Duff, David Stockdale, Dickson Etuhu, Simon Davies and Brede Hangeland will miss the Basle showdown through injury, but otherwise Hodgson plans to name a strong line-up.
The 62-year-old insists Fulham take their European commitments seriously and is adamant his squad can cope with the tournament alongside the Barclays Premier League.
West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday is the club's next domestic assignment, but halting a three-match losing streak tomorrow is the priority.
"You shouldn't regard the Europa League as a distraction," he said.
"If you don't want distractions then you should refuse the offer to qualify for Europe even if you qualified to do so.
"There was never any question of us doing that. We tried to finish as high as we could in the Premier League last season and ended up getting a European place.
"We certainly don't see Europe as a distraction, we regard it as an interesting adventure.
"It's a test for the squad but we're strong enough to select a team to win tomorrow and on Sunday in the Premier League."
Fulham hope UEFA will allow them to register keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler in time for the clash against his former club after Stockdale suffered a knee injury in training.
Mark Schwarzer and Zuberbuhler are the club's only fit keepers as the club's two names on the B-list are also in the treatment room, but the former Switzerland international is not registered for the Europa League.
"We've found it difficult to register Zuberbuhler because of the restrictions that meant we had to leave him off the list," said Hodgson
"You have to have so many home-grown players and we don't have any. Twenty-five players for most teams becomes 20 for us because of that.
"I am hoping he'll be on the list for tomorrow because otherwise we'll be in serious trouble as we don't have any other keepers.
"I'm confident that our wish to exchange Stockdale's name for Zuberbuhler will be okay. Normally you're allowed to make the change with 24 hours notice."
Top seeds Basle, who finished third in the Swiss Super League last season, top Group E following their surprise 2-0 victory over Roma.
"We've been lucky to have been drawn in a quality group. We're not seeded to qualify but I wouldn't be surprised if we did qualify," said Hodgson.
Hodgson's extensive coaching CV includes a two-year spell at Swiss club side Neuchatel Xamax and success in guiding the national team to the 1994 World Cup - their first appearance at the finals since 1966.
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
Latest in Sport
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer talk: Juan Cuadrado Chelsea move imminent; Manchester United eye Nathaniel Clyne; Andre Schurrle medical at Wolfsburg
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures