Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Buzzing Duff Admits He's So Excited about Euro Clashes; after Scoring His First Goal for His New Club, the Midfielder Insists That Fulham Will Embrace Their Big Games Ahead. by David Smith

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Buzzing Duff Admits He's So Excited about Euro Clashes; after Scoring His First Goal for His New Club, the Midfielder Insists That Fulham Will Embrace Their Big Games Ahead. by David Smith

Article excerpt

Byline: David Smith

FULHAM 2 EVERTON 1 WHILE the oft-repeated mantra of manager Roy Hodgson is that Premier League survival must remain Fulham's priority this season, Damien Duff today insisted the club will fully embrace their challenge in Europe.

Duff has declared himself fit for Fulham's first group game in the Europa League at CSKA Sofia on Thursday despite a knee injury bringing a premature end to his man-of-the-match display in the win over Everton.

"I was a bit nervous when it jarred but I don't think it's a major problem," said Duff, whose stunning first goal for Fulham since his summer move south from Newcastle proved to be the winner at Craven Cottage yesterday. The threat of injuries to his small squad, plus the pressure of a long fixture list, does concern Hodgson. But Duff said: "We're not planning on letting it become a major negative factor.

Obviously the travelling can be hard at times but the group we've been drawn in (Fulham's other Europa rivals are AS Roma and FC Basel) gives us some nice games, which will give the whole place a lift.

"Hopefully we can carry that into our League programme. I think it's exciting and when you're excited you're not thinking about burning out."

Duff will, indeed, bring a buzz to Fulham this season if yesterday's showing was anything to go by.

The Republic of Ireland international was a livewire down the right -- he suggested he had switched from his usual position on the left flank as a result of an agreement with fellow winger Clint Dempsey, although one assumes Hodgson also had a say in the matter -- and laid on early crosses which Dempsey and Bobby Zamora headed wide.

His hard work was finally rewarded in the th minute when Andy John-son, back from a serious collarbone injury, touched the ball to Duff and then cleverly continued running to draw two defenders with him. …

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