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Clint Dempsey eyes goal milestone, FA Cup run and matchup against U.S. teammates

Clint Dempsey eyes goal milestone, FA Cup run and matchup against U.S. teammates

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The Fulham star and United States international got the year off to a good start and tells Goal.com he would like more goals and a run in the FA Cup in the coming weeks.

Clint Dempsey had a very nice week.

Last Monday, the American was involved with his first win over Arsenal and on Saturday the Fulham star grabbed his first hat trick as a professional, getting 2012 off to a very bright start.

“It’s nice because I can say I’ve done it,” Dempsey told Goal.com when asked his hat trick “I’ve come close a lot of times, but I’ve just managed two goals as the highest (in any game) and I’ve done that quite a few times now.

"It’s good to reach that milestone and hopefully there will be more to come.”

Dempsey’s goal output has improved every season with Fulham. The hat trick against Charlton Athletic over the weekend put him within one goal of reaching his career high for a single season of 13 in all competitions, which he set last term.

With six goals in league play and six in cup matches, the midfielder acknowledged that playing on multiple fronts opens up more chances to grab goals.

“I think being part of the Europa league and being in these cup competitions, along with playing in the league, gives you more chances to score goals because it gives you more games to play in,” he said. “It’s good to get my numbers up and the main goal is to improve every year. I had 13 goals in all competitions last year so hopefully I can get more than that.”

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The hat trick set Fulham through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, where on Sunday the club was drawn with fellow English Premier League side Everton, which features Dempsey's U.S. teammates Tim Howard and Landon Donovan.

But while American fans will surely be drawn to the intriguing matchup, Dempsey will be approaching the game as if he were facing any regular opponent.

“It’s cool to see more Americans playing in Europe, but when you play the game you’re playing against an opponent,” Dempsey said. “You’re not playing against friends. Even if my brother was playing on the other team, you’re going out there to win the game regardless of who you’re playing against.

“Playing against two fellow national team players in Tim Howard and Landon Donovan, it’s good to see, but come game day they’re your opponent. They’re going to do everything they can to try and get the better of you. That doesn’t change no matter who you play.”

With Manchester United having bounced rival Manchester City out of the cup, and now facing a heavyweight showdown with Liverpool, it seems likely that a non-traditional power could once again find FA Cup glory. And with the experience in the current Fulham side - with many of the squad members having been involved in the club’s run to the Europa League - Dempsey would like to see his team make a deep cup run, despite knowing it won’t be easy.

“We would like to make a run in the FA Cup because we’re out of the Europa League now,” he said. “You know that any time playing away from home is difficult, especially playing a team like Everton, which I always thought they had a lot of quality. I look forward to the game and hopefully we can go on a nice run.”

Dempsey and the Cottagers will be back in action on Saturday with a road match against Blackburn and the match against Everton will take place at the end of the month.

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