New Fulham manager must deal with expectations says Gera

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The Independent Online

Zoltan Gera says whoever replaces Roy Hodgson as Fulham manager will have a lot to live up to next season.

The Cottagers continue to search for a new manager following Hodgson's departure to Liverpool.

The 62-year-old former Switzerland boss performed wonders during his time at the west-London club, retaining their top-flight status in his first season in charge before going on to reach the Europa League final last season.

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who has just left his post in charge of Ivory Coast following their World Cup exit, and Croatia coach Slaven Bilic are believed to be the leading contenders to take over.

But Hungary midfielder Gera says whoever takes over must look to at match last season's impressive performance on a consistent basis.

"Hopefully we will get the new manager in soon and achieve the same level of success over the next few seasons," Gera told the club's official website, www.fulhamfc.com.

"The expectations for next season are high - we had a great season last year and if we could finish back in the top 10 this season that would be perfect for us."

Caretaker boss Ray Lewington is set to remain at the helm for Fulham's opening pre-season friendly against Brentford at Griffin Park next Wednesday.

The Cottagers then head to Bournemouth before flying out to Sweden where they will play games against Halmstad and Malmo, two of Hodgson's former clubs, when a new boss is expected to be in place.

Fulham open their Barclays Premier League season at Bolton on August 14.

Gera admits the defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final still hurts, but has urged his team-mates to use the loss as a motivational tool.

"It was a successful season last year, but the final was very painful," he said.

"It was a great feeling to play in the final - yes we lost, but I have good memories from the competition.

"Unfortunately we won't be playing in the Europa League this season but we need to play well and enjoy another good season in the Premier League."

Fulham have already signed defender Philippe Senderos this summer, with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer linked with a switch the other way to Arsenal.

American forward Clint Dempsey is reported to be wanted by AC Milan after impressing at the World Cup.

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