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Philippe Senderos: Fulham must appoint manager quickly

A shocked Philippe Senderos today admitted it was vital Fulham appoint a new manager quickly as he began to come to terms with Mark Hughes' departure.

Hughes controversially quit yesterday after less than a year in charge, having guided the Cottagers to eighth place in the Barclays Premier League.

Martin Jol is the bookmakers' favourite to succeed the Welshman, while Steve McClaren and Martin O'Neill have also been mentioned as possible candidates.

Whoever gets the job will have little time to get their feet under the table, with Fulham facing a Europa League qualifier in less than four weeks' time.

The players are due to report back for pre-season training on June 23 and Senderos wants a new man in charge quickly.

"I didn't see it coming - no-one did," said the Switzerland defender, who also watched Roy Hodgson jump ship last summer after joining from Arsenal.

Senderos only played three games under Hughes after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in August.

He added: "It's sad for everyone because we have had a good campaign and we were hoping to build on that next season but we will see what happens."

"It's something that happens in football. The sooner Fulham are able to get a manager, the better."

Hughes' long-term future at Craven Cottage was in doubt from the moment he signed a contract which allowed him to walk away after just one season at the helm.

His departure came less than 24 hours after Gerard Houllier left Aston Villa, the club which Hughes had been heavily tipped to join since Houllier suffered a recurrence of his heart problems.

Hughes, who insisted after his resignation that he had not already held talks with the midlands club, may well have beaten Houllier to the job last summer had he not already joined Fulham.

He did so after former Tottenham boss Jol rejected the chance to move to Craven Cottage from Ajax and it is interesting to note that both men have now been linked with Villa.

Hughes' departure did not prevent Fulham making a signing today, with 18-year-old midfielder Tom Donegan joining from Everton on a two-year contract.

Donegan starred in last month's Academy League Final at Craven Cottage, which saw the Toffees secure a late win over Fulham's under-18 side.

Meanwhile, club captain Danny Murphy has hailed fellow midfielder Clint Dempsey as the inspiration behind Fulham's stellar second half of the season.

"I think people forget just what Clint can bring to a side," Murphy told his club's official website, http://www.fulhamfc.com.

"We know that he has a lot of skill and is one of those players that can make things happen out of nothing.

"But there's more to his game. He tracks back, he wins tackles and is a valuable outlet when under pressure.

"I think he's the longest-serving player in the current squad and that's testament to his ability and how much he means to the club.

"For me, last season he was terrific - he really stood out."

Dempsey became Fulham's record Premier League goal scorer this term, taking his tally to 33.

Murphy added: "Clint was probably the mainstay of our strike force for long periods of the season.

"We had a lot of injuries to our forwards with Bobby (Zamora) joined by Mousa Dembele and Andrew Johnson for long periods.

"As a result, a lot of pressure was put on his shoulders and he did extremely well.

"If it wasn't for his goals and desire to do well, at what proved to be a difficult time, then things could have been very different for us."