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Roy of the Fulham praises Zamora

last updated Sunday 22nd February 2009, 5:45 PM

Premiership Fulham boss Roy Hodgson
Fulham boss
Roy Hodgson
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson admitted "a weight had been lifted" from striker Bobby Zamora after his first Premier League goal since September helped Fulham to a comfortable 2-0 win over strugglers West Brom.

Zamora, without a goal in more than 29 hours of top-flight football, tapped home from a yard after 61 minutes before his shot helped set up strike partner Andy Johnson for the second 10 minutes later.

It was the least the hosts deserved having hit the woodwork a scarcely-believable four times, twice through the impressive Danny Murphy.

But while Hodgson insists he does not measure the abilities of his forwards in sheer weight of goals alone, he concedes the pressure around Zamora has now been lifted.

"Bobby's bound to be relieved," he conceded.

"I would prefer to judge front players on what they do for the team and not make it as simple as 'if you score eight goals you're a good one and if you score two you're a bad one'.

"If Zamora scored eight or nine this season and we were lying in the bottom three I would get no satisfaction at all.

"I'd much rather be looking at the table and having us in eighth place with him scoring two goals.

"He's kept at things well, formed a partnership with Johnson and that's been very important for us. But I take the point that as a front player you want to score goals and you'll always have it thrown at you if that's not happening."

Hodgson saw Murphy hit the post and the crossbar and a swerving Clint Dempsey drive thud the upright before going in goalless at half-time. When it came, the opener was almost as long overdue as Zamora's second league strike of the season.

The former West Ham and Tottenham forward appeared rejuvenated after his goal, lashing just over two minutes later and then seeing his powerful shot beaten away by Scott Carson to set up Johnson.

"It was quite interesting that after he scored he had two more great strikes, one of which led to the second goal. It's pretty obvious a weight has been lifted from his mind.

"As for me, I suppose I enjoy a sense of relief too because I always believed in Zamora and Johnson and I brought them both to the club."

Hodgson revealed that the striker himself had been keen to take time out of the firing line, but was persuaded by the club's coaching staff to persevere.

He said: "There's been a time when Bobby would have welcomed a break from it, he's often complained that he's quite tired because he's played so many matches and he hasn't done that in the last couple of seasons.

"But we've kept him on track and said to him 'that's what we want you to do. That's what good players do, they play every week'.

"There's no doubt there's been an element of fatigue and there must have been an element of mental pressure too because it gets on top of you. But it's great credit to his strength of character and his determination that he's been able to ride though that and today he's got his reward."

West Brom manager Tony Mowbray conceded Fulham were the better side.

''They thoroughly deserved to win,'' he said. ''We rode our luck right from the start. We were better second half but lost goals through poor defending.''

Albion remain bottom of the league but Mowbray refused to be downcast.

''On any given day you've got to keep going because you can catch teams on a day when you can beat them,'' he added.

''We'll try to pick up points at home and try and catch a team on a bad day away from home.''

Source Sporting Life
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