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Chris Coleman conceded that Fulham are in the thick of a relegation battle after his side were well beaten by Aston Villa at Villa Park this afternoon.

The Londoners were very much second best – beaten by goals from Nobby Solano and Lee Hendrie – and have still yet to win a Premier League away game this season.

The Fulham manager said: “We lacked quality in the first half, we lacked belief and we played with no confidence, like a side on the ropes, and with a complete lack of belief throughout the team. When you come to Villa you’ve got to stand up and be strong. If you show any signs of weakness it will be exploited.

“In the second half we coped better, got ourselves into good positions but didn’t pull the trigger near the goal. There are signs that we are in a relegation dogfight – and that’s the way we have got to look at it now.

“We’ve got to be men, we’ve got to be hard, we’ve got to be strong. We can’t believe that we are unlucky and that it’s just not happening for us. I’ve got the belief in the players but they’ve got to have the belief in themselves. When the business of the week comes around we are not doing anything.

In midweek they look like internationals in training and that wins you nothing. We’ve got to have that will to win. We’ve added quality to the squad and people are waiting for others to do it now, whereas last year we had that grittiness about us where we didn’t want to lose. I’ve changed the formation a bit and maybe I have to ask myself questions. But I don’t mind taking it on the chin as long as the players take it on the chin.”