Hodgson angered by Uefa keeper decision

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The Independent Football

Roy Hodgson rounded on Uefa after Fulham were forced to play last night's 1-0 Europa League victory over Basle without a replacement goalkeeper.

Fulham failed in an attempt to have Pascal Zuberbuhler registered for the match at 24 hours notice after David Stockdale and the club's B-list keepers were injured.

Hodgson is mystified by UEFA's decision which he believes has damaged the credibility of the competition.

"UEFA refused our request to replace the injured Stockdale with Zuberbuhler on the basis they didn't think the injury was sufficiently long term," he said.

"It wouldn't have been so bad if the two 18-year-old keepers we had weren't injured as well. But Mark Schwarzer, who played tonight, and Zuberbuhler are our only fit keepers.

"It's a decision we dispute. We think the game would be denigrated if an outfield player was in goal because your keeper became injured.

"UEFA want to make the league stronger and more prestigious so I don't understand this decision. We protested and appealed but they stuck firm by their decision.

"With any luck Stockdale will be fit for the next game against Roma but there's no guarantee. If he isn't we could be in the same situation again.

"In the mean time we must thank our lucky stars Schwarzer wasn't injured and Zoltan Gera didn't have to put the gloves on, which he was looking forward to but I wasn't."

Danny Murphy's 57th-minute strike nudged the Cottagers to the top of Group E but Fulham could count themselves lucky that Marco Streller and Benjamin Huggel missed sitters in each half.

"Basle were good, as any team who can beat Roma 2-0 would be. They have a good pedigree in Europe," said Hodgson.

"They might not be a name that is very familiar to English fans but they are a very good team and showed that tonight.

"But I was pleased with the way we dug in and stuck to our task. We got some passing going in the second half and that led to our goal.

"It was a tight game that could have gone either way. We played better against Arsenal on Sunday but this was an important victory."

Hodgson felt Andy Johnson could have been awarded a penalty in each half.

"We thought we had a stonewall penalty in the first half. I found it hard to believe we weren't given that one," he said.

"The one in the second half was more debatable as there may have been a slight touch on the ball."

Basle coach Thorsten Fink admitted his side were punished for losing concentration and criticised their sloppy finishing.

"I'm not satisfied at all with that result. We really wanted to win but basically the problem was we didn't pay enough attention for 10 minutes after half-time," he said.

"I'm happy with 80 minutes of the performance when we played well. We created opportunities but didn't finish them."