Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

David Healy: It was simply a game too far for Hodgson’s Euro heroes

It was a sorry end to Fulham’s fantastic adventure in the Europa League on Wednesday night.

I thought it was a 50/50 final against Atletico Madrid which could have gone either way.

Unfortunately for Fulham, aided by a slight deflection, Diego Forlan scored the winner for the Spanish just when it looked like we were in for the drama of penalties.

Ultimately, after such a long and hard campaign, I think that Fulham ran out of legs. Look at most of their players who have played between 50 and 60 games this season.

That’s some going in today’s modern game in which rotation is the watchword.

I was disappointed for the Fulham players, especially my Northern Ireland team-mates Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird, and of course the manager Roy Hodgson who has worked wonders at the club.

It’s hard to deny the class of Diego Forlan though. He was criticised when he couldn’t score goals at Manchester United yet now he is the Atletico Madrid superhero.

It’s worth pointing out that Forlan was only a kid when he played at United. He was coming into a different world, a different league, different culture and having to learn a different language.

That can be daunting but he never gave up and, clearly comfortable with the Spanish way of life, has become a high class performer.

His two goals in the final were really clever finishes.

There remains much debate about Roy Hodgson’s future.

He has said that he will be at Fulham next season and even though speculation will persist about the Liverpool job and the England job, I believe him.

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