Clint Dempsey backed to re-discover best form for Fulham
Rene Meulensteen expects the US international will quickly improve
Monday 13 January 2014
Clint Dempsey will quickly recapture the form that made him a Fulham favourite in his first spell at the club, according to boss Rene Meulensteen.
Fulham's head coach expects United States forward Dempsey to play his way back to full sharpness, following his loan switch from the Seattle Sounders.
The 30-year-old is expected to face Norwich in the FA Cup third-round replay at Craven Cottage on Tuesday.
Dempsey struggled to impose himself in Saturday's 4-1 home Barclays Premier League defeat to Sunderland, but Meulensteen remains confident the former Tottenham man will come good.
"Clint's a fit boy and that comes pretty quickly," said Meulensteen.
"The more minutes and games he gets under his belt the quicker that will all come. It won't take long for him to be right back up there."
Dempsey scored 50 league goals in his first Fulham spell, between 2007 and 2012.
Meulensteen admitted Fulham's wasteful finishing cost them any chance of victory in Saturday's Sunderland shaming.
But the former Manchester United coach said he expects Dempsey to find that scoring knack in next to no time.
"If he could have got his head on one of those crosses in the second half it would have been good for his confidence," said Meulensteen.
"He's just got to keep working, but that's his character and that's exactly what we know he will do."
Tuesday's FA Cup replay with Norwich crowds an already-packed fixture schedule, with Fulham facing Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday in league action.
Premier League survival is the clear priority, but Meulensteen said there is no temptation to field a second-string squad against Chris Hughton's Norwich.
"Well first, the FA Cup is a fantastic competition that I respect," he said.
"If you look back on its history there are so many joyful moments.
"And secondly, nothing good comes out of losing. There's nothing positive in doing that (writing it off).
"However it is a game where we have to utilise the squad, that's normal and it would be stupid not to do it.
"That approach can give a few players that extra bit of time to recover."
Fulham playmaker Adel Taarabt has admitted he was squeezed out of the Sunderland defeat by the attentions of Black Cats midfielder Lee Cattermole.
Accepting responsibility for failing to convert one gilt-edged opportunity, the former QPR midfielder said Fulham must sharpen up against Norwich.
"If we'd have scored first it would have been a different game but we made it difficult for ourselves," he told Fulham's official website.
"I tried to make things happen but Lee Cattermole was behind me all the time and he tried to frustrate me.
"I stayed calm but the play was compact and there wasn't much space for me and Dimitar Berbatov, it was difficult.
"Credit to Sunderland but we're all very disappointed."
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