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Chris Coleman has warned his Fulham side that Middlesbrough will be a tough nut to crack at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night.

The Welshman was impressed with Steve McClaren’s side against Arsenal on Sunday, telling his pre-match press conference:

It’s going to be a tough game. Steve Kean and I went to watch Boro against Arsenal on Sunday. Steve McClaren has bought in some good players and it’s going to be difficult for us but it will be no harder than Saturday – there are no easy games. But we are looking forward to it. We’ll go into the game with a lot of confidence. They’ll be disappointed with Sunday’s result. Arsenal are probably one of the best teams I’ve ever seen, they play the best football and they’ve got the best players – so to go there and score three times is a credit to Middlesbrough.”

The midweek meeting sets up an early reunion between Coleman and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who Fulham tried to sign in the summer.

I talked with Jimmy about coming here. But he had already made a promise to Middlesbrough. I remember saying to him that if it falls through he could give us a call. He called me later to say that he was going to sign for Boro and I respected that. I think a lot of players wouldn’t have bothered calling back. We were interested in bringing him here but he chose Middlesbrough and it’s a good signing for them.”

The Whites opted to bring in Andrew Cole from Manchester City and the veteran striker bagged a brace against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

“I was delighted for Andy. He’s worked incredibly hard in pre-season and in training. He always stays behind and does extra shooting practice. He scored two and missed three but he doesn’t care, he keeps getting in there because he’s got that confidence. He believes that he’s going to score goals and it’s something he does instinctively.

I don’t think we could get much better. Without sounding big-headed, I thought we were outstanding. The lads put in a great performance and if there are a few more of those this season, we won’t have a problem. There’s always room for improvement, there’s never a performance that’s ten out of ten – but we came close. If the lads put in another performance like that on Wednesday night, I won’t be able to ask for more – whether we win, lose or draw.”