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Mark Hughes happy despite glass ceiling

last updated Friday 13th May 2011, 6:18 PM
Fulham manager Mark Hughes
Fulham manager Mark Hughes
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Fulham manager Mark Hughes accepts there is a glass ceiling at clubs like Fulham, but he issued a statement about his future this week because he just wanted people to know how happy he is as manager at Craven Cottage.

"I get asked invariably every press conference in fairness," said Hughes on Friday as he prepared his 10th-placed side for Sunday's trip to Birmingham.

"I just thought it was important that people understood and that I needed to clarify my feelings towards the position I hold.

"As I have said many, many times before, I really enjoy being here. We have great potential and we're looking to build on what we've achieved this year.

"We want to finish in that top 10 if we can and then we will be able to look back on the season and ahead to next season with real confidence.

"We've got the basis of a good team. I am very clear in how far we can go as a club - it's fair to say there is a glass ceiling for clubs in a similar position - but that does not mean it's not challenging."

And the challenges of next season could well include the Europa League again just a year after the side provided thrills galore for the fans en route to the final.

England are set to be awarded a spot under the Fair Play scheme and Fulham, the only side in the Barclays Premier League not to have had a player sent off this campaign, are neck and neck with Tottenham just behind Chelsea who are already certain of playing in the Champions League.

Hughes can see pluses and minuses to qualifying. There is the fixture congestion and the fact that they could be in action after just four days of pre-season training, but he added: "If we get in we will try to progress as far as we can.

"It's not a case of dreading it - we should embrace it - but it just makes it difficult early on. You could argue that both sides balance themselves out."

Of more immediate concern is wiping out the memory of Monday's 5-2 hammering at home by Liverpool, their worst defeat of the season.

"That was a real shock to us - we didn't see that coming," commented Hughes.

"But since the turn of the year we have been fantastic and that was an anomaly we put behind us and learn from.

"In terms of motivating the players that performance has made it easier for the last two games."

Fulham finish at home to Arsenal on Sunday week.

"When you have a significant defeat you look at who did well and who didn't. That happens after every game, whether the result was positive or negative.

"I have a lot of options - there are not many missing through injury."

Bobby Zamora and Simon Davies are doubts, though, and full-back Chris Baird was waiting this afternoon for confirmation he is suspended following his abusive gesture towards referee Lee Mason on Monday.

He did not contest it and is likely to be fined by the club as well.

Source Sporting Life
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