Hodgson hails character

Image: Hodgson: Hailed side

Roy Hodgson was pleased with Fulham's strength of character in the win over CSKA Sofia.

Fulham boss hails side after Cottagers dig deep to win

Roy Hodgson was pleased with Fulham's strength of character after the Cottagers had to withstand a second-half rally by CSKA Sofia to set up a 'win or bust' game in Basel. Danny Murphy missed a ninth minute penalty on his return from six weeks out with a knee injury but the Cottagers then scored the winner on 14 minutes when Zoltan Gera headed home Bjorn Helge Riise's cross from the right. In the second period, CSKA came far more into the game and substitute Damien Duff had to clear fellow substitute Kosta Yanev's shot off the line with 10 minutes to play. The victory means Hodgson's men need to win in Switzerland in a fortnight to reach the last 32 of the Europa League. Hodgson said: "All credit to CSKA, they had nothing to lose in the last 20 minutes and brought talented players on. When you make changes it makes it difficult for players. "It was foolish to miss a penalty but there were other missed chances and the game could have been dead and buried. "I'm very pleased that we showed the strength of character to stand up to that."

Priority

While Hodgson said his side would be going all out to win in Switzerland, he re-iterated that the Premier League continued to remain the priority. He added: "The Premier League is the major concern and the Europa League comes second to that. "I don't think the fans will hold anything against us for our performances in this competition. "They know when we go to Basel we will be doing our very best. "We are still trying to do the best we can, the players will be trying hard to get us through and that was evident against CSKA, personified by people like Simon Davies, Zoltan Gera and Bobby Zamora. "We knew it would be tough for Basel to get anything at Roma so with the four points dropped against Roma we always thought we would have had to win the last two games." Hodgson said it was not a mistake to let Murphy take the penalty, despite it being his return from injury. "He's our penalty taker," said the Fulham boss. "It was the first missed since I've been at the club. It wasn't a mistake to let him take it."

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