Italian giants the dream draw for Fulham boss

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Football News

Roy Hodgson set his sights on a return to Italy after Fulham qualified for the knock-out stages of the Europa League with a well-deserved 3-2 victory over FC Basle.

Fulham join group winners Roma plus the likes of Champions League drop-outs Juventus, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in the last 32 of the tournament. The draw is made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon at midday on Friday and Fulham cannot meet Liverpool or Everton, who are in action against BATE Borisov on Thursday but have already qualified for the round of 32. But Hodgson, the former Inter Milan manager, has his eye on one potential tie in particular.

"I wouldn't mind playing Juventus," he said after a first-half double from Bobby Zamora and a Zoltan Gera strike had set Fulham on their way to victory.

"I am looking forward to the next round, the draw to see who we get and then we see how far we can go."

Hodgson has treated the Europa League as an "adventure" for the Fulham supporters but he has always placed the Barclays Premier League as his priority.

That attitude is unlikely to change, particularly when the rotation policy Fulham are using allows the likes of Bjorn Helge Riise and Gera to shine the way they did against Basle.

"I don't know whether I am enthusiastic (now we have qualified), I am very satisfied. I am particularly pleased for the fans," Hodgson continued.

"I walked around Basle in the afternoon before the game and I was stopped by fans saying how much they were enjoying the adventure.

"We have done more than we set out to do. It's been a bonus so far and now we face an even bigger bonus."

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