Chris Coleman says he will settle for a quiet afternoon against Southampton this weekend – after his Fulham side have been beset by disciplinary issues in recent weeks.
Andrew Cole and Papa Bouba Diop begin suspensions for their part in the battle of the Hawthorns on Saturday and the Fulham boss admits he has been trying to tone it down ahead of what could be a crucial clash in the lower reaches of the Premier League table.
Coleman told his pre-match press conference:
“We don’t want any trouble. We want to come through the game with no red cards and three points. We need to keep a cool head and keep our concentration for 90 minutes. If we do that, we should be OK. Cole and Diop are two influential players, no doubt. Coley’s been banging in the goals and big Diop has adjusted very well to the Premiership. They’re two important players for us but we’ve got a good squad of players now and the ones who come in will do a good job.”
Fulham will be boosted by the return of Steed Malbranque, who missed the start of the season with a groin problem but scored against Boston United in midweek.
“It’s a big boost, he scored a good goal up at Boston. But overall he looked a little bit rusty in his passing, by his standards anyway. The important thing is that we got him through the game. He came off unscathed so he’ll be available to start on Saturday.
I will back my players every time. You only have to look at recent games. If we lose a game because we play badly, I’ll hold my hands up and so will my players. But I never blame results on outside influences or injuries. If whatever team I put out underperforms, I’ll say that and if they play well, I’m the first person to give them a pat on the back.”