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Swansea boss stays calm before Fulham visit

last updated Friday 13th February 2009, 5:33 PM

Swansea boss Roberto Martinez
Swansea boss
Roberto Martinez
Swansea boss Roberto Martinez has played down talk of Swansea City being favourites for their FA Cup fifth round match against Fulham on Saturday.

The Swans made it through to the last 16 after knocking holders Portsmouth out at Fratton Park last month.

And many bookmakers believe they can claim another Premier League scalp and reach the quarter-final for the first time since 1964.

But boss Martinez said: "Fulham are the favourites."

The two side last met in the FA Cup in 1995 under very different circumstances.

Fulham were in the old Division Four, with managerless Swansea in Division Three.

And it was underdogs Fulham who caused the upset that day with a 7-0 hammering at Craven Cottage.

But both sides have experienced a huge turn in fortunes since then, most notably the London club's rise to the top flight since owner Mohamed Al Fayed took control in 1997.

More remarkably though is the Swans' rise to Championship after flirting with financial meltdown in 2002 and relegation from the Football League a year later.

Martinez, who was a player when they survived the drop in May 2003, is now in his second season as manager having guided them to the League One title last year.

He has earned the plaudits this season after making them play-off hopefuls in their first season in the Championship.

The Swans are unbeaten in 15 league and cup games, while Fulham are 10th in the Premier League without a win away from home all season.

But Martinez is keen to take the underdog role for Saturday's lunchtime kick-off at the Liberty Stadium.

"We've got a very difficult game against a Fulham side who are enjoying a very good season.

"They are full of internationals that have played at the top, top level and we are looking at that possibility that we will have to be on top of our game to try and compete against this sort of side."

He added: "Fulham, as they are the favourites are going to dictate things, they are going to control things and that's something we are going to have to adapt to it.

"It's going to be a great challenge for us. They are a very complete team.

"You look in every department of the side and Roy Hodgson has put a very strong side together. The quality throughout the squad is magnificent.

"Any game we are going into as underdogs is going to be a hard game."

Source BBCSport
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