Hangeland hails seemless managerial change

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The Independent Football

Brede Hangeland believes Fulham have made a seamless managerial transition from Roy Hodgson to Mark Hughes.

Hodgson, the mastermind of the most successful spell in the Cottagers' history, departed for Liverpool over the summer.

Hughes was given the unenviable task of filling his shoes but the former Manchester City boss has made a encouraging start to his tenure.

A point secured at Bolton was followed up by yesterday's thrilling 2-2 draw with Manchester United and Hangeland insists the team are content under Hughes.

"There is no reason why we should lose our team spirit because we changed manager," said the Norway defender.

"Towards the end against United our team spirit was every bit as good as it has been for the last couple of years.

"We came back again at Craven Cottage as we have done many times.

"It was a great feeling to be part of that and I'm confident Mark Hughes can lead us in the right direction.

"The determination in the dressing room is the same every season.

"It's more for those people around the club to make up stories about what is going to happen when we change manager.

"As players you always try and do your best and you have in mind what you have done last year and the year before that."

Hangeland insists Hughes has brought a change in emphasis to the team's tactics, while emphasising their refusal to be intimidated by reputations.

"Now we get at teams a bit more. We did that yesterday a bit more against United than we have done in the past against good teams, even at home," he said.

"We used to concede ground earlier and let the opposition play whereas now we press high and take the game to them.

"It worked at times and other times not so well but I'm sure we'll get better as we get time to work on things.

"I think we knew already before we changed manager that on our day we can play well against most teams and we showed that again yesterday.

"We should have respect for those good teams but not have any fear."

Hangeland had dramatic impact on yesterday's game, scoring the own goal that put United 2-1 clear before nodding home the equaliser with a minute to go.

"It was very pleasing for me personally," he said.

"I felt I was unlucky with the own goal because I didn't think I could have done too much about it, but you still feel you owe something to the team and I was praying for a corner.

"Luckily I got one and it came in the right area for me."

Hangeland's goal would have proved meaningless had David Stockdale not saved Nani's penalty shortly after United went 2-1 up.

The goalkeeper impressed once again filling in for the injured Mark Schwarzer, who Arsenal have bid more than once for this summer.

And despite the 37-year-old looking set to quit Craven Cottage, Hughes maintains his departure is not a "foregone conclusion".