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Coleman promises Battle of Stamford Bridge

last updated Friday 29th December 2006, 5:10 PM
 
Fulham boss Chris Coleman
Fulham boss Chris Coleman

Fulham manager Chris Coleman will tell his players to throw everything at a Chelsea side rocked by the loss of injured captain John Terry for Saturday's London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Reading's battling 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day stunned the Barclays Premiership champions, and Coleman is now looking to end their long unbeaten home run.

Plans for an all-out aerial bombardment have been hit by the absence of suspended striker Heidar Helguson, but the Fulham boss knows that the only hope of adding to his friend Jose Mourinho's problems is to try and apply all-out pressure.

"It would have been interesting if Helguson had been playing because there would have been a bombardment in the box. Collins John is not that type of player, he likes that last pass," said Coleman.

"I'm not giving anything away because Jose Mourinho will have done his homework and will know what to expect from us.

"We've got to put pressure on Chelsea and attack them to try and get a goal.

"We've got to attack their strengths. We won't be sitting back and trying to hang on for 90 minutes because that doesn't work.

"It's going to be a great atmosphere, a London derby against big brother down the road, and we've got to get stuck in, get amongst them and take the game to them."

Coleman maintained that his hopes have not been fuelled by the way Chelsea were made to toil by Reading.

"I don't think there is any significance in the fact that they drew with Reading. They've got a few injury problems, but they are still an excellent team," Coleman added.

Mourinho's fitness worries pale into insignificance compared to those at Craven Cottage and Coleman quipped: "I think Joe's down to his last 30 players, so it must be tough for him."

Joking apart, the Fulham manager appears to have become one of Mourinho's few friends in the Premiership managerial ranks and he defended the man who loaned him England left-back Wayne Bridge last season against charges that he is ungraceful in defeat.

Fulham beat Chelsea 1-0 at Craven Cottage last March and Coleman said: "He shook hands and came and had a glass of wine after the game.

"When people say he's a bad loser, do you want to see people having a laugh and a joke after they've lost, not showing any passion or emotion, or do you want to see people who don't like losing?

"I'm sure when we beat them, because we'd lost four on the bounce, he didn't expect it - nobody did - but he came and had a glass with us. You can't ask for any more than that."

Fulham's manager also believes that Mourinho is relishing this season's championship battle with Manchester United.

"It will go down to the wire, a couple of points between them and I think he'll enjoy it. He'll enjoy the mind games with Alex Ferguson and there's nobody better at them than Alex.

"Jose makes a lot of comments but in his mind he is taking pressure off the players and putting pressure on himself. There is a method in his madness but he will relish the challenge.

"He's won four titles - two at Porto and two at Chelsea - and he hasn't lost a home game for more than four years. He's won the Champions League and he loves it.

"Last year and the year before they ran away with it. This year it is much tighter, and if they win it he'll enjoy it even more."

But Fulham are aiming to put a dent in those hopes and Coleman added: "I genuinely believe we can go to Chelsea and get a result, but it won't be easy.

"If we get three points, in terms of our league position, it would be fantastic - even a point would."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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