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Jul 28, 2011

Europe no joy for Murphy

Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy says it is hard to get excited about playing in the Europa League ahead of his side's latest qualifying tie at RNK Split on Thursday.

Murphy, 34, won the competition with Liverpool in 2001 but now faces a third qualifying round first leg tie against Croatian minnows Split, who finished third in the top flight last season after successive promotions from the fourth tier.

Murphy finds European football difficult to get excited about and knows that he has become a little robotic in his approach.

"It is not so much the early round, it's just playing in Europe,'' he said. "We played in Europe a few years ago and it became that way. If it was new and the first time I had done it in 10 years then it might be a bit more exciting.

"But it is a job at the end of the day really, to get a job done, the result and get away and on with the next one. Hopefully we can get away with no casualties or injuries, so if there is a lack of excitement about it forgive me.

"But at this stage it is still a job that needs doing rather than one you get excited about. Let's be honest, up until now - or even now - the quality or knowledge of the opposition is limited. It's not like you're playing in front of 40,000 or 60,000 at a Shakhtar Donetsk or Juventus. It is what it is.

"It is not as exciting so you've just got to get the job done.''

The first-leg tie will be played 12 miles away at NK Dugopolje's Stadion Hrvatski Vitezovi and Murphy believes the neutral territory could prove beneficial to the Premier League outfit.

"I've only just found out that this is not their actual stadium,'' he added. "Time will tell but I think that is a benefit for us because obviously if you're playing at a ground they're used to playing in all the time it is a proper a away game.

"But this is more of a neutral pitch, which I think will benefit us more than them. The plastic one [at Crusaders] was difficult because we were not used to playing on it. We avoided the early banana skin there and hopefully we will get the experience of training in the stadium, which does help. It really does help us prepare.''

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