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Fulham Manager Chris Coleman has a defiant message for the critics and pundits, who have tipped his side for relegation since the inexperienced coach’s appointment and al Fayed’s wave of financial cutbacks.

“I know a lot of people fancy us to go down,” he said.

“I’m the youngest Premiership manager and there’s lots going on at the club so I fully expect the criticism.

“People say there’s a big black cloud hanging over the club – but we don’t see it like that.

“If we finish higher than last year, it’ll be a great season (14th).

“And there’s no reason why – if we add the right players – we can’t finish in the top half.”

Coleman, who failed to land Pierre van Hooijdonk earlier this summer, is still in the market for a big-scoring striker and revealed: “I’m still looking to bring in two or three good quality players.

“I haven’t got £25million to spend but I do have money.

“The chairman’s backed every move I’ve tried to make and it’s not as if they’ve been just £500,000 bids.”