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Andrew Cole is desperate to shed the surly tag – and allow people to know the real person behind his moody reputation.

The veteran striker is used to being misunderstood and told the Daily Mirror:

“I’m a quiet person and everyone has got their opinions about me, but if you speak to people who work with me every day they will tell you that I banter with everyone. I’m a quiet person and everyone has got their opinions about me, but if you speak to people who work with me every day they will tell you that I banter with everyone.

When I was younger I used to get upset. I used to get down about it. But it doesn’t bother me now because I have my wonderful family and they put things into perspective for me.”

Cole insists there is plenty of fire left in his tank as he looks to finish the season strongly with Fulham, starting with Saturday’s trip to one of his old stomping grounds – Old Trafford.

“Anyone who thinks I don’t have any desire left should come and have a chat with me. I will tell them about hunger. I will tell them about desire. I have been brought up with that. Looking back now I know that I have made certain mistakes in my career but that is because I have wanted to do so well. And I still do.

Do people think I just go out there every Saturday and don’t care about winning? Do they think I don’t want Fulham to qualify for Europe or get to a cup final? I play to win. If I don’t play to win there is no point in me even being involved. I try and win the five-a-side matches in training. If I am not like that then I am not the player that I can be.”

Coleman quickly dismisses rumours that he has been unhappy with how things have progressed since he moved to Fulham last summer and mounts a stout defence of Chris Coleman.

“It’s no good looking at me saying that I am not happy in a 4-5-1 system – that’s a load of rubbish. At the end of the day there are 10 other players out there. Go and question them. How can I be upset at Clarky getting the captaincy? He is the club captain. We have been friends since our time at Newcastle. The manager asked me to do a job while Clarky was injured but when he came back at Crystal Palace I was glad to give the armband straight back.

Maybe it’s because we have a young manager that people want to have a go. People keep saying that he is inexperienced and needs people to come in and help him. But I say give the man a chance. This is his second full season. He did fantastic last year when Fulham finished in ninth place. Like with strikers, perhaps he is finding the second season the hardest.

But I believe next season we will still be in the Premiership and we definitely won’t go through as many problems as we have this season. As long as we learn from our mistakes it will make us a better team next season.”