Fulham manager Chris Coleman refused to criticise Melville for not even attempting to challenge Crespo when he headed home the winner.

‘We lacked quality and it was disappointing to concede the goal we did,’ he said.

‘But it was a great cross and a great header from a great player so I’m not going to blame Mel for that.

‘We made a few chances but our general play was poor. We looked like we were panicking at times and kicking it long when we could have shown better composure.

‘But we’re fourth because we’re a good team and deserve to be there.

‘We’re there on merit and it’s nearly halfway through the season so we’re ticking over nicely.’

Sean Davis came off just before half-time with a tight hamstring but Coleman is optimistic he will be fit to face Southampton at Loftus Road on Boxing Day.

The manager said:’I took Sean off because I didn’t want to risk him tearing anything.’