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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Substance over style for embattled Hodgson

Roy Hodgson insists he will draw no extra pride from Fulham's tactics should they escape relegation from the Premier League.

Victory over FA Cup finalists Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Sunday will secure the Cottagers' eighth successive season in the top flight.

A 2-0 triumph over Birmingham last Saturday lifted them out of the bottom three for the first time since Boxing Day.

To Hodgson's credit, Fulham have sought to pass their way to survival but the 60-year-old takes no added satisfaction from using a style that is easy on the eye.

'You coach according to how you think the players you have should be best used,' he said.

'For the players we have, the way we play is the best way to use them.

'If, for example, we had Peter Crouch with some other 6ft 4in centre forward, then maybe our best way of playing would be to hit much longer balls.

'I don't believe one style is better than another. It's all football.

'The fans, though, do seem to appreciate the fact that we are able to pass the ball around.'

Fulham celebrated their success against Birmingham with a lap around the pitch amid a carnival atmosphere at Craven Cottage.

They could be forgiven their jubilation given the importance of the result but Hodgson hopes the scenes do not prove to be embarrassingly premature.

'The reception we got from our fans after we beat Birmingham was fantastic,' he said.

'If anything it worried me because I don't think we deserved it. I thought it was magnificent of the fans to stay behind and give us that reception to make us feel good.

'But we can still slip into the Championship and there's still a big risk of that happening.

'That reception is probably the biggest pressure that has been put upon us because we realised, if we hadn't already, that it was so important to people.'