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Carlos Bocanegra knows that Fulham will be in for a real battle against Aston Villa on Saturday – with Villa Park not the ideal place to go as the Whites seek to arrest their alarming early season slump.

Villa are unbeaten at home but will be seeking a victory to lift them out of mid-table, whilst Fulham are yet to win in the claret and blue half of the second city in the Premier League. Bocanegra, who says he pays little attention to history preferring to focus on the here and now, told the club’s official website:

“They’re going to be a tough prospect. They’re a very good side and we know we’re going to be in for a tough game.”

The American defender picked out Nobby Solano as someone Fulham will need to shut out if they are come away with a result.

“He’s a really good supplier of the ball. So hopefully I can shut him down and not give him too many opportunities from wide right. But they’ve got a lot of dangerous players all over; we’ll have to be very careful.”

Bocanegra stressed the urgency of a return to form sooner rather than later – and stressed the positives from dominating a strong Liverpool side for large parts of an encounter that ultimately went against them last weekend.

“We can’t be thinking we’ll get it right next week or the week after; it’s now that we’ve got to start playing and getting the results. There is some pressure on us to do well, but we’re not so far behind that we need to start panicking. But we definitely need to start winning or at least picking up draws away from home, and start climbing up the table before January.

I think everybody here feels that we played pretty well for a large part of the match on Saturday, so the spirit is good. This has been a very hard week physically – our training has been stepped up over the last few weeks, which is understandable because we’ve been losing and conceding goals.

We’ve been doing a lot of organisational work with the defenders, and Chris and Steve have been doing a good job of sorting out the problems that need to be addressed. They’re giving us all the information and support we need, so now it’s up to the players. Hopefully we can get all of that right on Saturday.”