Hodgson insisted: "I'm certainly not prepared to say that Fulham are a team that's not worthy of a place in the Premier League. I've got no reason to say that.
"I think we've had nearly full houses in every home game since I've been here and I don't think you can suggest that, just because we are in the bottom three we are a club that don't deserve this status.
"If you want to say to me 'do I think Fulham are a Premier League club in the same way as Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United?' are then the obvious answer is no, we are not at that level.
"But we all know there is a gulf of difference between the top four and the rest of the league and I do think that if we ever got a decent run at it we could establish ourselves as a middle-of-the-table team.
"The trouble is we have been flirting with this situation for the last few seasons and if we get out of it as I still hope we will, it is going to be very close again but it is never going to be easy to get a foothold."