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Chris Coleman refused to blame his players after Fulham were beaten 3-0 by Arsenal – saving most of his scorn for what he described as an ‘inept’ refereeing performance by Mark Halsey.

The Fulham boss was fuming that Halsey overturned his decision to give the hosts a penalty after protests from the Arsenal players and then disallowed Collins John’s goal just before half time. Coleman revealed that Halsey apologised during the interval and felt his team had done everything they could against the unbeaten league leaders.

“I’m not going to criticise my players- they were tremendous. We were poor in our two defeats to Middlesbrough and Portsmouth but I’m not going to have a go at them after that. They did everything I asked of them. We always have a little meeting before the games. I’ll just show the guys the good bits from the match – although I don’t think you could fit those into five minutes because there were so many positives.

I think they’re a great team. The way they play football at the moment makes them untouchable. Maybe the last ten days were a Godsend for us. We couldn’t plan tactically or get our shape right. We had the players together on Friday for an hour but they couldn’t do much because they were tired from international duty. We had a ten minute chat before the game where I told them to go for it – and they did. Maybe that’s a lesson for me in the future.”