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Coleman blames the third goal

last updated Monday 09th April 2007, 11:51 PM
Fulham boss Chris Coleman

Coleman praise for players

Fulham Manager Chris Coleman understood why Fulham fans booed him off and called for his dismissal after the 3-1 defeat by Manchester City left the Cottagers just four points clear of the Barclays Premiership relegation zone.

Goals from Joey Barton, DaMarcus Beasley and Darius Vassell did the damage as City all but ensured their own top-flight status for next season, with Carlos Bocanegra scoring what proved to be a consolation for the Londoners.

Coleman insisted he would not 'put the boot in' to his players even though he warned: 'With just five games to go we are certainly not safe yet and it is no good us feeling sorry for ourselves.

'I don't think I have seen the players like this before. They are devastated, gutted. They are only human and so are the supporters. They haven't seen us win here since Newcastle (February 3) and they are all frustrated.

'But we need two more wins to be safe and from now on in we cannot afford to come off the pitch without getting a result.

'When you are in a dogfight you have to fight like dogs. If it is a gunfight you can't afford to go in with just a knife.

'It is only results that are important now and it doesn't matter how we get them. I will take being booed for being boring or whatever but we know we have good players. Some of them were missing today and now they have all got to become scrappers as well.

'It was the second City goal that killed us. We are used to being 1-0 down because we've been in that position many times this season but every time we attacked we were faced with a big blue wall of defenders.

'You could see the loss of belief in the players' faces. It is written all over us but now we've got to believe we can stay in the Premiership this season. We've got to get the points we need and the players know full well the position we are in.

'They were edgy and nervous but we need somebody to step forward and come up with something to get us a result. We can't just moan about bad luck. Every team which has struggled has had their bad luck and it is up to us to get over it.'

Fulham still have to play Reading, Blackburn, Arsenal, Liverpool and Middlesbrough before the end of the season.

Man City boss Stuart Pearce

Man City boss Stuart Pearce challenged his team, who have won five of their last seven away games yet struggled at home, to stay unbeaten for the rest of their run-in.

He said: 'We need to finish the season strongly and I want the players to ask themselves if they can improve.

'You are only as good as your last game as far as I am concerned and I'll be getting into the players again later this week.

'I think we deserved to win against Fulham and it took a lot of spirit against a side who have a lot themselves. Don't take this wrong but I can't have sympathy for `Cookie' Coleman even though he is a great lad.

'We are in a competitive business and everyone is desperate to win games down at the bottom. But I think the way managers are being treated, the current phone-in syndrome, is unbelievable. All are going through the same thing.

'But I don't see any danger of relegation for Fulham. When you see the interaction between the manager and the players you know the spirit that they have.'

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