Premier League - Hodgson 'right to rest stars'

PA Sport - Fri, 17 Sep 09:06:00 2010

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson felt his decision to field a weakened team was vindicated after his side's 4-1 Europa League victory over Steaua Bucharest.

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The Reds got off to a winning start in Group K courtesy of two goals from David N'Gog, one from the penalty spot, and strikes from Joe Cole and Lucas Leiva.

It was a scoreline which flattered the hosts somewhat but with an important clash at Manchester United on Sunday Hodgson was not in the slightest bit concerned.

"I think it is important you make decisions and make them for the right reasons," said Hodgson, who retained only Jose Reina, Paul Konchesky and Maxi Rodriguez from the goalless draw at Birmingham.

"I had no doubt that, given the fact we have so many players who play international football, this was the moment to give them a rest and allow them to prepare properly for Sunday's game.

"The ones who came in did a good job and got a good result and in my opinion the decision would have been just as valid even if we had not got a good result.

"They made us work hard to contain them but even in that period Joe showed some good touches. I'll start thinking about the weekend come tomorrow (Friday). I'll just enjoy the victory."

Hodgson was pleased to see Cole showed no signs of rustiness as a result of his domestic suspension as he scored and played an important role in the win at Anfield.

Cole has been banned from the Premier League since his sending off in the game against Arsenal on the opening weekend of the season. However, he warmed up for Sunday's trip to Old Trafford by scoring Liverpool's fastest goal in Europe - after just 25 seconds - and his first for the club since his summer free transfer from Chelsea.

"It was nice for Joe Cole to get his first goal for the club, I thought he was lively throughout," said Hodgson. "He showed some good touches and movement and as the game opened up the match became even easier for him."

PA Sport

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