Hodgson hails Fulham 'stars'

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Roy Hodgson views his Europa League-chasing Fulham as a team of stars despite their lack of household names.

European football is within touching distance following an impressive haul of 13 points from six matches which has lifted Fulham to seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

The Cottagers face local rivals Chelsea next and Hodgson said: "There's a poem that compares fireflies and stars. Stars in the true sense of the word come out every night and stay there."

He added: "You know where they are and can always find them, unlike the fireflies that burn brighter but last a day.

"In that sense we have a lot of stars in this team. Simon Davies is a star because of the number of games he has played non-stop.

"He might not be a star in the sense of profile but I've worked with enough high-profile players and that doesn't really impress me anymore.

"What impresses me are good professionals who can do good job week in, week out. For me they're the real stars."

It is not just on the pitch that Fulham have made an impact as Hodgson has emerged as a leading contender for the manager of the season award.

Any relegation fears were eased long ago, unlike last year when a dramatic race for survival went down to the final day, and Hodgson rates his work at Craven Cottage as highly as anything he has achieved in his 33-year coaching career.

"With five matches left to play last season we had 24 points which is incredible when you think at the same stage this season we had 44. This stands right up there with other good jobs I think I've done."

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