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Roy Hodgson pleased at under-strength Liverpool's Europa League win

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson had his decision to field a weakened team vindicated after his side's 4-1 Europa League victory over Steaua Bucharest.

The Reds got off to a winning start in Group K courtesy of two goals from David Ngog, one from the penalty spot, and strikes from Joe Cole and Lucas Leiva.

It was a scoreline which flattered the hosts somewhat but with an important clash at Manchester United on Sunday Hodgson was not in the slightest bit concerned.

"I think it is important you make decisions and make them for the right reasons," who retained only Jose Reina, Paul Konchesky and Maxi Rodriguez from the goalless draw at Birmingham.

"I had no doubt that, given the fact we have so many players who play international football, this was the moment to give them a rest and allow them to prepare properly for Sunday's game.

"The ones who came in did a good job and got a good result and in my opinion the decision would have been just as valid even if we had not got a good result.

"They made us work hard to contain them but even in that period Joe showed some good touches.

"I'll start thinking about the weekend come tomorrow. I'll just enjoy the victory tonight."

Hodgson also had praise for the performances of Ngog and Cole, although he admitted getting a goal from Lucas minutes after putting him on was more by fortune than design.

"I thought Ngog's confidence grew after the penalty but I don't think he looked that confident in the first half," added the Reds boss.

"But certainly his confidence grew the longer the game went and we had so much possession in the second half that for forwards it is good when you have that much dominance in the midfield.

"It was nice for Joe Cole to get his first goal for the club, I thought he was lively.

"We substituted Lucas because we wanted to make certain we shored up the midfield and to give Ryan Babel a rest - the decision was made for defensive rather than offensive reasons, it is just a coincidence Lucas scored a great goal."

Steaua coach Ilie Dumitrescu felt his side did not deserve their 4-1 defeat but admitted they were architects of their own downfall to some extent.

"We gave a present to Liverpool in the first minute," said the former Tottenham and West Ham midfielder.

"In the second half I tried to move things around but I knew it was difficult to get a result here because Liverpool create big pressure.

"Maybe it was a penalty, maybe it was not, but at the end of the day I was very sad for the result because this is not the real picture of what happened on the field."

Dumitrescu had no arguments with Hodgson's team selection.

"You have Maxi Rodriguez, David Ngog, Ryan Babel, Joe Cole - they are quality players and it is a very strong squad and they look organised," he added.

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