Chris Coleman has urged Fulham’s disgruntled supporters to trust him, as he works towards making the west Londoners an established top-flight outfit.
t has not been the happiest of returns to Craven Cottage so far this season, with Fulham unable to recapture the consistent form which saw them finish ninth in the table last May – after reaching the last eight of the FA Cup.
A goalless draw with Charlton on Saturday left Coleman’s squad just six points above the relegation zone as they produced another disappointing display in front of their home supporters, who were again not shy in voicing their disapproval at both the team’s performance and the manager’s tactics.
Even so former Wales defender Coleman has no intentions of making ‘panic’ decisions in a bid to secure a quick fix between now and the end of the campaign.
“We haven’t always produced it and we have had some nervous results – some inconsistent results – and the performances haven’t always been like they were last season,” said the 34-year-old who was named as the permanent successor to Jean Tigana in May 2003.
“They have all the excuses to throw at me – that I am too young, inexperienced, I don’t choose to play a normal British formation. But that is me.
“I chose to commit to management because I believed I could do the job. When you get times like this – with a lot of people pointing fingers, fans not happy with the way we are playing, not happy with me – that is when you have got to be strong.
“You either come out of the other side of it or you don’t. Only time will tell about that.
“I have never made excuses this season, have not panicked and gone to 4-4-2 because people want me to. I am stronger than that.
“I will hold my hand up if it doesn’t work out. But I will do it my way, and that is the way I have always been.”
Coleman is hoping there will not be an escalation of discontent from fans towards him.
“I had a great relationship with the fans when I was a player, and they were great last year. They have been patient,” he said.
“They need to trust me, to trust my players – and we still need to be together on what we can achieve this season.
“We have got 10 games to go, all tough games, and are going to need everybody on board – including the supporters – whether I play 4-4-2 or any other way.”
Coleman is the first to admit the days of Mohammed Al Fayed bankrolling a spending spree are long gone as consolidation, rather than massive expansion both on and off the pitch, now occupy the concerns of the Fulham boss.
“Clubs like us can’t spend millions and millions of pounds – it would be suicide for us to do that,” he said.
“Two years ago – when I first took over – we were staring at relegation, having spent millions.
“We must make sure we are never in that position again.
“Then if we can push on and pop our head up in that top half – when it gets to that last 12 games of the season you can start thinking maybe about the top eight or going a bit higher. That is the way we look at it – and do every year.”