Mark Hughes targets top-half finish for Fulham

Fulham manager Mark Hughes has backed his players to achieve a top-10 finish in the Barclays Premier League this season.

Clint Dempsey's majestic performance gave the Cottagers a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Bolton last night and helped the midfielder into the club's record books.

The United States international's brace saw him break Fulham's club record for most Premier League goals by a single player, before Brede Hangeland wrapped up the result with a stooping header.

The victory extended Fulham's unbeaten run at Craven Cottage to seven matches, during which time they have won 19 points out of a possible 21.

Hughes' side last tasted defeat at the hands of London rivals West Ham on Boxing Day, which left them facing a potential relegation battle.

However, Wednesday's victory has pushed them to ninth in the table, all-but securing Premier League survival in the process.

"You will have heard me saying time and time again during the year that I felt we are a top 10 side," Hughes said.

"We are in the top 10 now, I think it is only the second occasion this year that we have been in the top 10 and now it is up to us to make sure we remain there until the end of the season because that is where I feel we should be.

"I think we proved that again here, we have got good quality, we play the right way and I think we deserve to be in the top 10."

The victory leaves Fulham four points behind eighth-placed Bolton, who have endured a tumultuous recent run.

Having been battered 5-0 by Stoke in the FA Cup semi-finals earlier this month, they redeemed themselves with a 2-1 victory over title-chasing Arsenal on Sunday.

Owen Coyle's side capitulated once more last night however, leading the Trotters boss to urge his side to prove their worth.

"We came here in the cup and won so we wanted to try and win again to take us to seventh in the league and we've not done that," he said.

"I thought we started really well and had a terrific chance in the first minute to take the lead.

"We probably should have scored but we didn't, and then Fulham came into the game because they have terrific individual players and have a very good team.

"My disappointment is the goals we have lost. They are soft from our point of view and I think all three goals came indirectly from set plays.

"That is always a disappointment but having said that it can happen in this league because of the margins in the Barclays Premier League and their quality.

"I can't argue with the result, I think Fulham are fully deserving of the three points. But I know we are certainly better than we showed tonight."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most