Murphy pays tribute to Hodgson

Danny Murphy feels Fulham have come full circle under Roy Hodgson as the Cottagers stand on the verge of the Europa League final.

Fulham are hoping striker Bobby Zamora will pass a late fitness test on his Achilles injury ahead of the semi-final second leg against Hamburg, with the tie delicately poised after a goalless draw in Germany.

The Cottagers have already beaten favourites Shakhtar Donetsk and Italian giants Juventus in a run which started with a third-qualifying round tie back in July against FK Vetra of Lithuania.

Should they go on to secure a return to the HSH Nordbank Arena next month, Hodgson would, given his relative resources, rightly be in the running for manager of the year.

The 62-year-old came in to save Fulham from what seemed certain relegation when appointed successor to Lawrie Sanchez in late December 2007, before leading the club to its highest finish of seventh and with it European football.

Murphy is one of the players who have been galvanised under Hodgson.

The 33-year-old skipper paid tribute to the former Switzerland, Blackburn and Inter Milan boss.

"Roy brought a freshness in and to get to this level shows we have come full circle," Murphy said.

"We have become victims of our success, because when we are not playing so well, you can hear the fans and then just a few years ago we were desperate for a win at the Cottage and now they are amazed if we lose a game there.

"The players deserve some credit, the squad players have made a big impression come to the fore."

Murphy believes Hodgson has used all his experience to improve the technical aspects of Fulham's game.

"The way we play seems to suit a more European style," said the former Liverpool midfielder.

"We play a patient way, in a way it has come from Roy's Italian roots, it is an Italian style.

"We don't mind keeping possession and trying to break the other teams down, but even when the team has to change the other players have come in and done well.

"There are no stars, perhaps Bobby (Zamora) has become the star this season because of the goals he has scored, but if you ask people about Fulham they will say we will play as a team."

Murphy left Anfield for Charlton in August 2004, having won both the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup during 2001.

The midfielder, who then went on to Tottenham before moving to the Cottage during the summer of 2007, is enjoying another crack at the big time.

"You appreciate things more, you just assume at Liverpool each year would be a final and as you get older you realise that's not the case," said Murphy, who could face his former club should both English teams reach the final.

"I have tried to enjoy this experience because I do not know if it is the last time I would be playing in Europe.

"I think that is the case for a lot of the players who have enjoyed it because there has not been a lot of pressure on us and as I have got older I know these things are the moments to savour."

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