Sanchez relying on cup run to cure pain of campaign's stuttering start

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The Independent Online

Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez admits his team need to put another win on the board to quieten the critics who continue to predict the Cottagers' downfall.

Sanchez, who was appointed to haul Fulham out of relegation trouble at the end of last season, has brought in 15 new players and offloaded 13 but after six matches in the Premier League this term they are one place lower than where they finished last season when they avoided the drop with one game to spare.

Their only league win has come against fellow strugglers Bolton, who they meet again in the Carling Cup at Craven Cottage tonight.

And Sanchez admitted: "We need to get through this third-round tie in the competition. If we do that we go to Chelsea in the League on Saturday in good form and you never know what can happen.

"We have a lot of good quality in the side now but at this stage of the season there is a lot we still have to iron out. If we can get the defensive problems out of our system we are good enough going forward to really make an impact.

"Our last two home games [both 3-3 draws] sum us up right now. We are entertaining, we score for fun and seem to also concede goals for fun. We go into leads, we give them up, we fall behind and then we find the tenacity to come back.

"My reckoning is that we are about 80 per cent there for what I want, but it is the other 20 per cent we must get right. Some aspects of our game are great – others are not very good at all. It is my job to get it sorted out and I'm confident I will. Then we'll show the quality we have."

Sanchez is likely to give his £6m signing Diomansy Kamara a start up front tonight after surprisingly leaving him out until the second half against Manchester City last Saturday.

The former England and Liverpool star Danny Murphy, whose career stalled at Tottenham with just 22 starts in 18 months, is ready to make his full debut alongside Seol Ki-Hyeon after their combination as substitutes delivered a point-saving equaliser against City.

It was Murphy's first goal for his new team, and he said: "I am just really happy to be back on the pitch and enjoying my football again.

"They are a great bunch of lads here – enthusiastic and hungry and it is a great new start for me.

"I have been very fortunate. The Spurs experience is the first time in my career that I have had a down spell.

"Now it is a fresh season and a fresh challenge. I am fit, a young 30 I would like to think, with a lot still to offer and I still want to contribute.

"It is part of every footballer's career to have some adversity and that in the last 12 months at Tottenham was what my career was.

"But the manager here is very clear with what he expects from you and what he knows about me.

"He was very straight with what he expected of me, where he saw me playing. We literally had a 10 to 15 minute conversation and that was good enough for me to sign."

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