Fulham expect Hodgson to stay

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The Independent Football

Fulham director Michael Cole insists Roy Hodgson is "integral" to the club.

The Cottagers' hopes of winning their first European trophy were dashed last night in Hamburg as Europa League final opponents Atletico Madrid scored an extra-time goal to win 2-1.

Hodgson revealed his desperate disappointment after the match but is expecting to fulfil his contract and be in charge of the club for the 2010-11 Barclays Premier League season.

And Cole insisted this morning: "He is integral to the club, a very great manager. And as (club owner) Mohamed al Fayed has said, he's more than a manager - he's a very great human being.

"We do think he will stay and I think he'll be at Fulham because essentially he has what every manager says he wants - a free hand and the confidence of the chairman. By and large he gets the support he requires in the way he wants it."

Cole insists al Fayed will not end in his interest in the Cottagers after it was revealed last week that he is deciding to sell Harrods and retire - even hinting it could be good news for the club.

The Qatari royal family are buying the store for a reported £1.5billion through Qatar Holding, the investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority, which trades on behalf of the state.

Cole added on Sky Sports News: "Mohamed al Fayed carried out a brilliant deal for Harrods. There is some regret that he is selling but he has improved the shop.

"What he'll do in the future I think is a question for him, not me. But because he's sold the shop he's not going to sell the club.

"Because you sell your house you do not necessarily sell your car - you might even upgrade it if you sell your house for a tidy sum."