Hodgson signs new Fulham contract

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The Independent Football

Roy Hodgson today celebrated a new 12-month rolling contract by vowing Fulham will never "sell our soul" in the pursuit of success.

The Cottagers have been transformed under the guidance of Hodgson, completing last season in their highest top-flight finish of seventh and qualifying for the Europa League.

Victories against Manchester United and Liverpool have helped them to ninth place in the Barclays Premier League this term while abroad they can look forward to a last-32 tie against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Thrashing United 3-0 at Craven Cottage 11 days ago will be viewed by many giddy fans as their most treasured Fulham memory and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger recently identified them as contenders for fourth place.

But Hodgson, 62, insisted the club must never set expectations beyond surviving in the top flight.

"Unfortunately, we must emphasise all the time that for us the important factor is to continue this run of years in the Premier League," he told www.fulhamfc.com.

"We must be realistic that some years are better than others, not necessarily because we play much worse or work less hard, but because circumstances can contrive against you.

"At the moment we're in the top half of the table. Last year we finished seventh and it would be really good if we can keep that up.

"But we must be careful not to constantly raise the barrier because to do that we would have to change the fundaments of how we work.

"Those fundaments are that we are trying to run the club in a sensible way and to use the chairman's money wisely.

"We're working with what we think are the right elements to keep this club growing at a level it should be at.

"If we can do better than midtable finishes we'll be busting a gut to do that but I'd like to think we will not sell our soul or alter our principles."

Fulham appeared destined for relegation when Hodgson succeeded Lawrie Sanchez in late December 2007.

Survival was not guaranteed until a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth on the final day of the season but, only 12 months later, Hodgson had steered the club into Europe.

Superb organisation and a strong work ethic are the hallmarks of Hodgson's Fulham but his is no team of journeymen playing route one football.

Instead, an attractive passing game has established them as one of the more popular clubs in the Premier League and pundits have been queuing up to shower praise on their manager.

Known for his technical approach, Hodgson's 33-year coaching CV includes stints at Inter Milan and Blackburn while off the pitch he is considered an articulate and respected voice in the game.

"It's nice that the club want me to stay and I've always made it clear I'm very happy and enjoying my time here," he said.

"The club and team are growing constantly. We're always running as fast as we can to make certain we don't ever go backwards.

"It's nice to know that I'll be here for the years to come and I'm looking forward to that work.

"People know me well enough to understand that I will be doing my best to not let anyone down.

"We will, of course, continue to work tirelessly to ensure that continued success is enjoyed on the pitch in the years to come."

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