Coleman chases European dreams

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The Independent Football

The Fulham manager, Chris Coleman, says he has European ambitions on both a personal and club level. The former Wales defender, still only 36, has endured a difficult season so far due to ongoing injury problems but his side are coping admirably and are 11th in the Premiership.

His long-term target is to steer Fulham into European competition - and he also admits he would like to coach elsewhere on the continent at some point.

Asked about one day taking Fulham into Europe, Coleman told the League Managers' Association website: "Absolutely, I would love to have that experience. I've said all along I love it at Fulham and I've been here a long time, nearly 10 years as player and a manager.

"I would like one day to manage abroad but before that day comes if I can get Fulham in a position where we were playing European football that would definitely be an achievement and is certainly a goal that we have set ourselves.

"When that will be we don't know but it's a possibility, whether it's through our league position, a cup final or the Intertoto Cup.

"I'd like to manage Fulham first in a European competition but I'd also like to sample what it's like managing a European team.

"We have a lot of managers that come to our country and I don't know why we don't get a lot of our guys going to other countries.

"The foreign coaches of course may have different ideas to us but they're no better than us, so there's no reason why we shouldn't be going to their countries, spreading some of our ideas, and learning from them also."

Coleman's side host Reading at Craven Cottage tomorrow with the Fulham manager coming up against his former manager at Crystal Palace, Steve Coppell, for their first managerial tussle.

"[Coppell]'s a good fellow, a very intelligent man and what you see is what you get with him. He's done an absolutely magnificent job at Reading and I don't see Reading just staying up this season, I think they'll have a really good finish and a lot of that is down to Steve.

"It's the first time that I will have gone head to head with a guy I've played under, so that in a way will be strange but I've got total respect for the guy and he's doing a tremendous job."