Coleman ready to win ugly in survival dogfight

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The Independent Football

The Welshman had already indicated he was prepared to dispense with his philosophy of attractive, attacking football as the Cottagers sought to end a run of three straight defeats at Charlton on Monday night, which had left them in the bottom three of the Premiership table.

After watching his men battle to secure a 1-1 draw against the Addicks, having changed tactics to pack the midfield with some success, Coleman wants more of the same when Fulham play host to Liverpool on Saturday.

"As a player, I was used to it. When I was at Crystal Palace or Blackburn, we had bad times in the bottom three," the 35-year-old said. "But as a manager it is a new experience. It is not nice, but it is certainly an experience which most managers go through and it toughens you up.

"You are looking at games differently. You can't just say, 'We are playing well' - we have got to get a result, it is as simple as that. Whether it is an ugly performance, or a good performance, I am not bothered to be honest.

"We need a big three points to propel us up the league, then we can keep playing our good football when we are in the middle and push on. When you are down there, unfortunately you need 11 dogs on the pitch.

"I know what talented players we have got, but if they don't go on there prepared to do everything - the fighting part of it - as well as the passing, being a nice footballing team and all the rest of it, then it is just not enough."

Monday night's hard-earned point lifted Fulham up one place to fourth from bottom, but Coleman feels his men could have claimed a first away victory of the season if they had maintained their focus.

After soaking up early pressure from the home side - when Dennis Rommedahl hit the woodwork - Coleman's men grew in confidence and took the lead with a fine strike after 28 minutes from Collins John.

Phillippe Christanval had started in place of striker Brian McBride as Fulham went with a 4-5-1 formation, but the Frenchman was forced off with a hamstring problem 10 minutes before half-time, forcing Coleman to change his approach.

Charlton came out in determined mood for the second half, and were level through Danny Murphy inside three minutes.

Fulham could have won it in the closing moments when their captain Luis Boa Morte sliced a close-range chance wide, but the manner of Charlton's equaliser still did not sit well with Coleman.

"I am not being negative, having a go at the guys because before the game we would have taken a point, but it is 'Fulhamish', isn't it? We have got to get rid of that, where we knock off for five minutes," he reflected.

"We have got to have more professional performances over 90 minutes. That little bit of lack of discipline, if you like, has cost us again. We started slowly at the start of the second half, and it is two points down the drain."