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Fulham must try harder says Alain Goma

last updated Sunday 24th March 2002, 9:36 AM
Fulham can't lose again today without Mohamed Fayed's best-laid plans, and a few million of his Harrods fortune, hanging precariously in the balance.

For French coach Jean Tigana and the players bought to provide instant success, defeat by Tottenham at Craven Cottage this afternoon would mean them being dragged into a ferocious battle to survive in the Premiership.

Fulham are desperate to avoid a sixth consecutive Premiership defeat only days after Tigana ordered a meeting of his squad to find answers to the problems that could yet mean a catastrophic end to their first season back in the top flight.

Fulham International defender Alain Goma
Fulham International defender Alain Goma
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Alain Goma, the French defender Tigana bought from Newcastle, is confident they will survive. But he warned: 'There must be more determination in the way we play. It is very important we show a positive reaction to the meeting we had with our coach. It is crucial.

'There is no point in saying we are only so many points above the relegation area. We have to say we are playing what remains of our programme to win a place in Europe, not simply to stay well away from relegation.

'And the fact is, Europe is the target. I didn't join this club to play in the First Division again. None of us did, none of us wants to go back there. We signed because we had ambition and that ambition is to ensure we do not play in the Nationwide. We must consider it below our level.

'The expectations at this club are immense. You think maybe too much is expected in this first season back. It is acceptable. If we can achieve a certain position, if we can do better, then why not do it?'

Fulham looked the safest of the promoted clubs with Tigana able to spend freely and with Fayed's great wealth and vision, not just for the team but the redevelopment and future establishment of Fulham as a club of stature.

But their recent run of five straight Premier League defeats, only compensated for by an upcoming FA Cup semi-final tie with west London neighbours Chelsea, has highlighted the acute danger they are in if the slump is not halted.

Goma added: 'It is good to talk as a group - at times it is essential. We simply talked about how we can improve, how we can produce better results. We need more determination but we must be stronger at the back and score more in attack.

'We were shown our mistakes and how to avoid them. All the time it was clear we have to keep playing football a certain way - but be stronger. I cannot compare what is happening here to what I experienced at Newcastle.

'Newcastle were already established. But at Fulham we are building a new club and we are building for the long term, step by step.

'There has been lots of work done from the inside with facilities and organisation. It is still improving. The fact we can sign international players like Edwin (Van Der Sar) and Stephen (Marlet), and that they chose to come here, is part of our development.

'At the moment we are prepared for Tottenham, and despite what has happened in recent League matches, the confidence is not bad, the spirit is good and there is solidarity among the players.

'We have had a difficult run of matches and we were not in the best of form, not 100 per cent ready for them. There are periods when you are not in top form. It is unfortunate it should have happened to us at this point - but the season is not finished.'
Source Soccernet by Alex Montgomery
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