Fulham's Brede Hangeland has revealed that the West London club's primary concern is to avoid relegation this season.
Martin Jol is just about to commence his second campaign at Craven Cottage, having taken the club to a 12th place finish in the Premier League in May. However, for large parts of the season, the club had the not too distant threat of relegation looming over them.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, the Norwegian explained: "I think the expectations for the season are much the same.
"My concern every year is to get 40 points and I am hoping that will be as early in the season as possible. It might sound like a lack of ambition but I am very happy to stay in the Premier League because I know how tough the competition is.
"I know our strength relative to all of the other clubs and you can’t say that we are a big club in the Premier League. We are punching above our weight a little bit and some of that is down to the fact we stay modest and keep our feet on the ground."
Hangeland personifies his club with this modest and realistic assessment. However, under Martin Jol, they have obtained some more high-profile signatures.
Last summer saw the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov, and this year has already seen Maarten Stekelenburg sign for Fulham, whilst Darren Bent looks likely to join on loan imminently.
The Cottagers are enjoying a prolonged spell in the top flight, having been exempt from it for a long period of time prior to 2001.
Their ascent was aided by the 1997 takeover of Mohamed Al-Fayed, but the Egyptian has finally ended his ownership of the club, selling to Shahid Khan this summer. As Hangeland reveals, the new takeover has been see as a positive move for Fulham.
"There has been a good buzz around the club following the announcement. We have a lot to thank Mohamed Fayed for but the new owner seems like a really good guy and has been successful in what he has done in the past. I hope that will continue here," concluded the defender.
Hopefully with the investment of their new American owner, Fulham can continue to punch above their weight, and challenge for a top half Premier League finish.
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