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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Jubilant Hodgson looking forward to a nice sit down

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson revealed he would probably celebrate by watching Match of the Day on television rather than go to a party after Danny Murphy's goal ensured an amazing escape from relegation.

Hodgson stood still on the touchline as Murphy's decisive header flew in and appeared to keep calm all the way through to the final whistle which marked Fulham's fourth win in the last five games and survival on goal difference.

The 60-year-old said: 'It's not really an occasion for celebration although I'm delighted for everybody at the club.

'You used to have a glass of wine and smoke a cigar - before my wife stopped me smoking, that is - but that was also sometimes the case when you had lost as well.

'I think there might be a party planned but I think I might just stay in and watch Match of the Day.

'We are delighted with what we've done in the last few weeks even though we left it late and left ourselves a mountain to climb.

'But I am always aware that when we win somebody else has lost and I feel genuine sympathy for lads like Alex McLeish and Steve Coppell who have gone down with their clubs despite both also winning today.

'Some people will say we've been lucky but I just felt there might be something going for us if we needed it enough.

'We were always aware that only a win would suffice and I felt if we could stay in the game and not go behind to a very strong Portsmouth team there might be something for us in the last 15 to 20 minutes.

'Danny's header proved that correct and although I might have looked calm after he scored I can tell you that was not the case.

'I thought the last few minutes lasted half an hour and wouldn't want to go through that too many times.'

Hodgson joked: 'If you think I looked calm then I can only think it was the valium. I wanted the referee to blow the final whistle as soon as Danny had scored.

'Do we deserve to stay up? I think we do. I said from the day I arrived in December that we could do it - although in those circumstances you say a million things like that.'

Hodgson's record at Fulham since replacing Lawrie Sanchez in December is six wins, five draws and nine defeats but the former manager of Inter Milan, Blackburn, Finland and Switzerland said: 'If you want to call it my finest achievement I won't argue with that because that's what you will call it any way.'

Goal hero Murphy said: 'It's not really sunk in yet that we've survived and it probably won't until we report back for pre-season.

'But it's a special feeling to score a goal as important as that and I'm chuffed for everybody at the club.

'We've turned it right round in the last few weeks and I think we deserved it today, even though we didn't play particularly well.'

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp congratulated Hodgson and said: 'I think he's done a wonderful job, a bit similar to when we narrowly escaped relegation a couple of seasons ago, although Roy's got better players than I had then.'

Portsmouth suffered their fourth consecutive defeat but Redknapp added: 'Personally I couldn't see us losing today, and I don't know how we did.

'For 75 minutes we were clearly the better team but we didn't do anything with our chances or possession.

'Still, we've finished eighth in the Premier League and we are in the FA Cup final next week. That's not a bad season for Portsmouth is it? I don't think it can get any better for a club like this.

'And I don't think the defeats will affect our players for Wembley. We'll bounce back and that's really all that matters. David James has another six days to get fit and I'm hopeful he will.'