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By ESPN Staff

Pantsil backs Hughes to match Hodgson feats

Fulham defender John Pantsil has backed new manager Mark Hughes to match the achievements of Roy Hodgson and lead the club back into Europe.

Pantsil is convinced Hughes, who will be officially unveiled by the club on Tuesday, can build on everything Hodgson achieved at Craven Cottage before leaving for Liverpool. Against remarkable odds, Hodgson guided Fulham from the brink of relegation to the Europa League final in the space of two and a half seasons.

Hughes, the former Wales, Blackburn and Manchester City manager, has now taken over the reins and Pantsil is convinced Fulham will only go from strength to strength.

"I have said many times that Roy Hodgson was someone that made me the player that I am today, and for that I am very grateful. But we have to move on - this is what happens in football,'' said Pantsil. "The appointment of Mark Hughes is a very exciting one, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this team evolves under his guidance.

"He's a very good manager and I think most of the players have come up against his teams in the past and from those experiences we know that he has a lot of quality. He's someone that commands a lot of respect and is tactically very astute. It's not long now until the new season gets up and running. This will be my third as a Fulham player and I'm very excited about what could unfold.

"It will be a challenge, but for me I would love to see the club push as close as they can for a top six finish. I believe in this squad of players and we have shown before what we can achieve as a team. I know that people will say that it will be difficult, but we have to be ambitious and have belief in our ability - otherwise what is the point in going out there?''

Fulham complete their pre-season preparations against Werder Bremen at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

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