Roy Hodgson is confident his Fulham FC side can put their recent domestic slump behind them as they welcome a VfL Wolfsburg side with injury concerns over in-form striker Edin Džeko.
Article top media content
As Fulham FC, like visitors VfL Wolfsburg, prepare to enter uncharted territory in the shape of Thursday's UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg, manager Roy Hodgson is confident a recent downturn in domestic form has not affected his team's confidence.
The euphoric 4-1 defeat of Juventus in the round of 16 decider two weeks ago is Fulham's sole victory in their last nine matches. Since when they been beaten by Manchester City FC, exited the FA Cup against Tottenham Hotspur FC and, on Saturday, lost to Premier League strugglers Hull City AFC. Hodgson remains unruffled, and believes his side have not always got the results their performances have deserved.
"Against Man City we were unlucky to lose and at Tottenham we played extremely well, probably better even than against Juventus, while on Saturday we were undone by two unusual goals," said Hodgson, who would be "very surprised" if Bobby Zamora is not fit after sending the forward home from training with a cold.
Hodgson added: "The rest of the time we had the better of the play and so our momentum and the way we're playing is certainly every bit as good as it was when we played Juventus. I'm sure our confidence has not been dented in any way by those results."
Mid-table in Germany having won the title for the first time last season, Wolfsburg have performed impressively since joining the competition from the UEFA Champions League. "They've knocked out Rubin Kazan and Villarreal to get where they are so any team that's capable of beating Russian champions and top Spanish teams is obviously a team that is in good form," Hodgson said.
Striker Edin Džeko has helped Wolfsburg transfer that form into the Bundesliga, scoring six goals in his last six matches, but is nursing a knee injury and is caretaker coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner's only doubt. "I have Grafite and Obafemi Martins as options, even if they also have issues after the last game, but I'm not thinking about that right now – if Džeko doesn't play we'll go from there," said Köstner.
He also made light of Fulham's form, adding: "You know how experienced their coach is and how strong they are so we need approach the game with a lot of respect for our opponents."