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Chris Coleman fears his Fulham side could be crushed by Chelsea if they are not mentally prepared for their Carling Cup quarter-final.

Defeat to Blackburn left Coleman questioning whether his “arrogant” players were prepared for a relegation battle.

Coleman said: “Some of the things I said may have sounded a bit harsh, but I don’t go back on what I said.

“We’re playing a top quality side, if we show fear they will rip us apart.”

“You have got to be brave, and show a bit more mettle in our play – not hiding when things are going wrong.

“When you play against teams like Chelsea who are strong in all departments, you have got to hope maybe they have a shady day and all of your players perform.

“The last time we played them, our players weren’t really on form and they were on fire and we ended up getting battered.”

Coleman believes Jose Mourinho has assembled a Chelsea squad capable of winning the game’s biggest prizes – but maintained Fulham should not risk everything to try to keep up with their affluent west London neighbours.

The two clubs – not to mention their wealthy owners – go head-to-head at Craven Cottage with a place in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup awaiting the winners.

However, while Blues fans may already be dreaming of a clean sweep of trophies from all competitions at home and in Europe Coleman warned against the perils of his club risking financial meltdown.

“He [Mourinho] has certainly got a big enough squad to compete for the lot,” reflected Coleman.

“I think they will win the Premiership, and possibly the Champions League, but I do not know whether they will win the lot.”

He added: “It is not realistic for us to think like Chelsea or to try to compete with them for honours, season in and season out.

“The aim here for us is staying in the Premier League, getting into the top 10 and having a real good cup run.

“That is the basis for us and what we have to stick by.

“Every year we have to look at it, make sure we are not in trouble in the Premiership…how high can we finish? And ‘let’s have a good cup run’.

“That is as far as we can think. Once we start thinking we can compete for Europe, or for this – that happened three years ago, and it was nearly a disaster.

“I don’t think like that, nor do I let my players and I hope our supporters don’t either.

“To compete with the top six consistently, you are going to be spending millions and millions of pounds. That is the sad fact of football nowadays.

“We can’t do that – and so have to be realistic in what our goals are.”

The Fulham manager believes his players can turn things around, with the right approach.

“It has been a shaky season, to say the least, but in the last 18 months it has gone quite well,” said Coleman, who will be without injured goalkeeper Mark Crossley and suspended centre-back Zat Knight.

“We are not going great at the minute, but I can not say I am worried because I have still got faith in the players I have.

“After Chelsea, we have got Norwich – which is a massive game for us – so it is going to be an exciting week.”