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Coleman relieved with gamble

last updated Monday 02nd January 2006, 10:43 PM
Fulham Manager Chris Coleman

Fulham Manager Chris Coleman admitted it was not a vintage display from his side and felt spirit alone had secured their sixth Premiership victory of the campaign.

"We didn't play well but showed great character and courage to get the goals. It didn't matter how we did it today, we just had to get three points," he said.

"Sunderland scoring early made everyone nervous but we came back."

Fulham have been crippled by injuries and there was no let-up today with Liam Rosenior and Steed Malbranque, making his first appearances since early December, both limping off.

The duo will undergo scans while Coleman admitted the plan of playing Papa Bouba Diop, who was struggling with an ankle problem, backfired. The Senegal midfielder was replaced by Helguson in the 40th minute.

"I gambled with Bouba and didn't know whether Sylvain Legwinski would finish. Bouba wasn't himself and I didn't want to do any long-term damage," he said.

"I was told Heidar wouldn't be fit but he was okay for the bench and in the end we needed him on the pitch. Alain Goma became ill last night and Carlos Bocanegra wasn't fit."
from Sporting Life

Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy

Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy admits he is not surprised by speculation over his future but knows nothing about an approach for Kevin Keegan.

McCarthy is under heavy pressure with Monday's 2-1 defeat by Fulham casting Sunderland 10 points adrift at the foot of the Barclays Premiership.

Reports over the weekend claimed Keegan had been asked to take over at the Stadium of Light, but McCarthy, who will not need reminding that defeat at Fulham accounted for his predecessor Howard Wilkinson in March 2003, insists it is business at usual.

"I shouldn't be surprised by the report because we're bottom of the league. I can't do anything about it, I've just got to get on with the job," he said.

"I'll keep coming to work. The performances are okay but the results are not coming. I'm not aware of anything that's going on and until that changes you'll see me on the sidelines urging the players on."

Sunderland made a blistering start at Craven Cottage with Liam Lawrence capitalising on a defensive error from Zat Knight to fire home with a stunning volley in the seventh minute.

But Fulham hit back either side of the break through Collins John with the second coming after Sunderland defender Steven Caldwell had been shown a straight red card for his tackle on Heidar Helguson.

"We didn't deserve to be beaten. We were by far the better team in the first half and that's not looking at it with rose-coloured spectacles," he said.

"We didn't defend particularly well for their goals. The sending-off was unfortunate. I've seen it three times and I thought Steven tried to get out of his way.

"We should have had something from the game. The difference was they took their opportunities."

Lawrence took his goal beautifully, firing home with a left-foot volley, and McCarthy said: "It was a fabulous strike.

"Liam has been one of the stars of the show for the last three or four games and that was another good performance."
from Sporting Life

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