games stacking up

Hodgson hits out at FA over fixture congestion

February 19, 2009

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has attacked the fixture schedule that threatens to derail his side's FA Cup bid.

The Cottagers host Swansea in a fifth-round replay on Tuesday for the right to host Manchester United for a place in the last four.

However, that game comes just 48 hours after a Premier League encounter with West Brom.

Ordinarily, Fulham would not have expected to play again until the Wednesday. But that has been ruled out because of Chelsea's Champions League match with Juventus at Stamford Bridge.

It is not entirely obvious why the replay could not have been scheduled for the Thursday - or even March 7, the date reserved for the quarter-finals, when Arsenal's fifth-round meeting with Burnley has been pushed back to.

Hodgson, sensing the potential of a first final appearance since the 1975 defeat to West Ham, is not a happy man - and although Fulham are comfortably in mid-table at present, he hinted the Baggies encounter must take priority.

"It bothers me why we have to play on Sunday and again the following Tuesday,'' he said. "Our chances of getting through against Swansea have been severely hampered. That turnaround has given our opponents a big advantage.

"I cannot say I am particularly delighted about the situation at all. We will have to concentrate on West Brom and then do our best against Swansea. But I wouldn't be putting too much money on the result.''

Hodgson knew his team would be up against it at Manchester United last night once they lost Andrew Johnson and Paul Konchesky to injury before the game.

While he felt Fulham could have done better at times, he had no complaints at the eventual 3-0 defeat.

"The first goal was a poor one for us to concede, but we were beaten by a better team,'' said Hodgson. "What happened was no disgrace. Manchester United are a very good team with a great chance of winning the Premier League.

"Their passing and movement was very good, and they have the individual players to finish in the final third. Whatever team Sir Alex Ferguson puts out can cause you problems.

"I am just pleased we didn't capitulate. We have to wipe our faces and accept that the dream of coming here and doing something special was just that, a dream.''