Fulham boss Chris Coleman has warned Alan Pardew life in the Barclays Premiership can quickly turn sour – and predicts West Ham’s slide will begin at Craven Cottage.
The Hammers have made a flying start to their top-flight return after clinching seven points from four matches and they travel to their London rivals high in confidence after Monday night’s 4-0 thrashing of Aston Villa.
Such form has relieved the pressure on Pardew’s shoulders but Coleman, who experienced the harsher side of life as a Premiership manager last season, has told his opposite number at Upton Park the plaudits can soon vanish.
He said: “You could say Alan has turned the corner but this is such a tough league.
“You can win a couple on the bounce and then you lose win three or four on the bounce. You must never get carried away.
“Alan took a lot of stick last season. All managers have been there. In the short time I’ve been doing the job I’ve taken a bit myself – especially last season.
“You have to take it on the chin, but Alan knows all about that.”
Villa and Blackburn have fallen victim to West Ham’s early surge with Newcastle yielding a point at St James’ Park, but Fulham are also in high spirits.
They have secured four points from their last two outings and Coleman believes the Hammers face the greatest challenge of their season to date with his side desperate to climb into the Premiership’s top 10.
He continued: “It’s possibly a bad time to be playing West Ham.
“I watched them against Villa and they did very well – they were full of enthusiasm.
“They’ll come to us full of confidence and they thoroughly deserved to beat Villa.
“But I believe we’ll be their toughest game so far this season.
“The mood and form we’re in over the last couple of games means it won’t be easy for them – this is a London derby and we really want to win.
“If we beat them we’ll jump into the top 10 and when that happens you pick up confidence.
“It’s a big game for us. We’ve taken four points from the last two games and that has already given us confidence.
“It was the fashion in which we won them that was been particularly pleasing. We were outstanding against Newcastle last weekend and should have finished with all three points.
“The performance was great. The whole work ethic around the place has been much better. I’m in a much better frame of mind this year than last.”
Fulham have coped admirably following the departure of last season’s top scorer Andy Cole with Tomasz Radzinski and Brian McBride forging a dangerous partnership in attack and Coleman insists his side are not missing the former England striker.
The Welshman added: “Brian McBride has nine goals in the last 14 starts, which is as good as anybody’s record.
“Tomasz is on fire – he’s getting behind defences and his pace is scaring people to death.
“Collins John and Heidar Helguson are younger and less experienced but they’ll be good for us.
“Andy was our top scorer last season and top four in the Premiership so he did his job. But he’s moved on and now we have other strikers to score goals for us.”