Steve Sidwell is confident that Fulham have the strength and depth in their squad to ensure that their UEFA Europa League exploits do not have a negative effect on their domestic campaign.

The 28-year-old midfielder was speaking after the Cottagers' Carling Cup penalty exit at the hands of west London rivals Chelsea, and insisted that despite the defeat, there was plenty for the players to be pleased about.

"We made a few changes to the team but I thought the boys did terrific," said Sidwell. "Throughout the whole 90 minutes we had more than enough chances to win the game, it was a great match with end-to-end stuff.

"Obviously we were disappointed to go out on penalties and not win it during the game considering we had eleven men against ten for the majority. But I think the performance from the lads in general lifted the camp.

"If we had gone there and performed badly and lost, that would have been much worse. But we're still disappointed to have gone out because this was a competition that we could have gone far in.


 

"Everyone that came in had a point to prove to the Manager. The performance last night is going to give the Manager a selection headache for future games - but it's great for him to know that if there are injures or if he wants to rest or rotate the team, we have players who can come in and perform at that level."

Looking ahead to the weekend, Martin Jol's side return to Barclays Premier League action with an away trip to West Brom - a game that will see some of the players come up against former Fulham manager and fans' favourite Roy Hodgson.

But Sidwell says there will be no love lost come 3 o'clock on Saturday, as both sides will be doing everything they can to ensure the three points.

"They're a good solid side," he continued. "Results haven't gone for them recently but the table doesn't lie, we're both down there and it's a big game even though it's early on in the season.

"As the years go by and the Premier League gets stronger, three points is harder to come by – there are no gifts in this league so we have to work hard to get every point.

"The Hawthorns is always a tough place to go, I've played there before and with them being at the bottom of the table their crowd is going to be right behind them and getting their players motivated.

"But that's an incentive for us to go there, quieten the home fans down a bit and try and stamp our authority on the game."

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