Ricardo Moniz was only appointed as Hamburger SV caretaker coach on Monday but Fulham FC's Danny Murphy has been able to provide the inside track ahead of Thursday's second leg.
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While Ricardo Moniz may have been an unfamiliar name to many until a few days ago, Danny Murphy is well aware of the Hamburger SV caretaker coach's capabilities as he prepares to lead out Fulham FC for the conclusion of the UEFA Europa League semi-final.
Previously a skills coach at HSV alongside Martin Jol and then Bruno Labbadia, Moniz was thrust into the limelight on Monday when he was named as the latter's temporary successor. Murphy worked with the Dutchman prior to joining Fulham in August 2007 from Tottenham Hotspur FC – where Moniz once again assisted Jol, then the London club's manager – and gave the 45-year-old a glowing character reference.
"He was a good coach and someone I worked a lot with at Tottenham; the lads liked him a lot," said the Fulham captain. "It's different being a manager even if it's only for a short space of time but I'd be surprised if the players don't have a good relationship with him because that's the type of guy he is. I wouldn't have a clue what he might be thinking but I'd be amazed if he's anything other than attack-minded because that's the way he is."
With the tie delicately poised at 0-0, the Cottagers are tantalisingly close to their first European final, an achievement which Murphy admits was far from their minds at the beginning of the season. "If you looked in a betting shop at the beginning of the Europa League campaign we'd have been nowhere near," added the midfielder.
"If I'm honest, I think people within the club thought 'If we can get through the group stage we've done well'. That's because we're realists; mixing the Europa League with the Premier League was always going to be difficult. As we progressed it became more evident that we had a great chance of doing well."
Should the west London club reach next month's showpiece in Hamburg, Murphy will have the chance to add to the UEFA Cup winners' medal he received in 2001, when Liverpool FC defeated Deportivo Alavés 5-4 after extra time. Now 33, Fulham's run to the last four has come just in time for Murphy.
"You're appreciative of it more, for sure," he said. "At Liverpool you assume each year there's going to be a final but as you get older you realise that's not the case. You have to enjoy these trips and each time we've gone away I've tried to enjoy the experience, not knowing if it was going to be my last adventure in Europe."