Thursday 15 December 2011

Hangeland heartbroken by Fulham exit

Defender left disconsolate after last-gasp elimination from Europa League

Brede Hangeland (centre) can only look on as Odense's Djiby Fall scores the equaliser

Fulham defender Brede Hangeland could not hide his dismay after seeing the Cottagers dumped out of the UEFA Europa League in heartbreaking fashion on Wednesday.

Beating Danish team Odense 2-0 at half-time and cruising through to the last 32, Fulham conceded twice in the second half to cost themselves a place in the next round, the equaliser coming with the last kick of the match.

That meant Polish side Wisla Krakow qualified instead, leaving Fulham to rue a missed opportunity and the chance to repeat their superb run to the final in 2009-10.

"To go out with the last kick of the ball is very, very hard to take"
- Brede Hangeland

"It's really hard to take," Hangeland told Fulham's official website (fulhamfc.com). "We didn't play very well, but we had by far the better chances and I cannot believe we drew.

"To go out like that, with the last kick of the ball, is very, very frustrating and hard to take. We started in this competition in June and it feels like that was all for nothing at the moment, so it's very disappointing."

Because they had to qualify for the group stage, Fulham played 14 matches in the UEFA Europa League this season and Wednesday's defeat was their 30th fixture in all competitions already.

But Hangeland says he and his colleagues must pick themselves up immediately, with a host of Barclays Premier League matches coming up and the FA Cup starting in January.

"It's not a time for anything positive," added the 30-year-old. "But it's over and done with and we need to focus on the League and the FA Cup when it gets going.

"The matches are coming thick and fast now so we need to keep going. Sometimes when you have a big disappointment it's good to have a game coming up a few days later to put things right.

"It will be nice to get back into action as soon as possible after this massive disappointment."

Fulham are back in Barclays Premier League action on Saturday when they entertain struggling Bolton Wanderers at Craven Cottage.

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Key Points

  • Fulham exit UEFA Europa League after 2-2 draw
  • Hangeland distraught after last-gasp equaliser
  • Defender tells colleagues they must focus on League