Fulham set for Roman challenge
Hodgson knows Serie A side will provide tough test in Stadio Olimpico tonight
Thursday 05 November 2009
Roy Hodgson, the Fulham manager, enjoyed a lot of success against Roma when he coached in Italy and he is hoping for more of the same in his side's Europa League showdown tonight.
While coaching Internazionale, Hodgson took on Roma five times, winning three matches and losing just once. "I have always enjoyed coming here," he said. "My memories are more positive than negative."
However, he knows the importance of tonight's match for both his team and Roma. "I expect Basle to win," Hodgson said. "That means that whoever loses at the Stadio Olimpico will have a difficult task to progress.
"I think in order for us to go through to the next round, we will need to finish with nine or 10 points. We will be wise and be prepared for a difficult game; we want to see how far we can go against them."
Claudio Ranieri, the Roma coach, is expecting a hard game against Fulham. The Giallorossi, still missing striker Francesco Totti with a knee injury, go into the game third in Group E, one point behind the second-placed Cottagers and two behind the leaders, Basle, with three games remaining.
Fulham arrive in the Italian capital on the back of a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the Premier League and Ranieri, a former coach of Fulham's west London rivals Chelsea, knows that his team will be put to the sternest of tests.
He said: "Fulham did well against Manchester City and they won convincingly against Liverpool. We expect a difficult game.
"We knew that would be the case in our first game against them, where we managed to come home with a point [from a 1-1 draw]."
Ranieri believes that the biggest threat Fulham pose will be on the break: "It's going to be complicated because Fulham will try to hit us in fast counter-attacks."
However, he remains confident his team will cope and improve in the hope of progressing to the next round.
"We have two important games at home and we want to keep going in Europe," he said.
"Of course we are missing the Champions League but that by no means suggests that we don't consider this competition important. We want to go as far as possible in this tournament."
Roma halted a run of three consecutive league defeats with a 2-1 victory over Bologna at the weekend to climb to 14th in Serie A.
Ranieri, though, is quick to admit his team are still a long way from being at their best. "We are missing a striker; we create chances but we are lacking a player to finish them off – we simply don't seem to score many goals."
Victory tonight will be a huge morale boost for the Giallorossi leading into Sunday's game away to Serie A leaders, Internazionale. "To go into the game at Inter with an important result would do good for our spirit," said Ranieri. "Our aim is to create goalscoring chances and try to finish them off without giving away a goal."
However, Roma will have to make do without the injured pair of Juan and Nicolas Burdisso, although Mirko Vucinic has recovered from a muscular injury and is set to lead the attack alongside Julio Baptista.
Latest in Sport
Commonwealth Games 2014 Opening Ceremony: Ewan McGregor launches Unicef charity fundraiser, making £2.5m in one night
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla deal - reports
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Manchester United transfer news: Arturo Vidal subject of £39m bid
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers (and giant cans of Irn Bru) welcome in Glasgow's Games
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia