Fulham Manager Chris Coleman felt his side were worthy winners and saluted midfielder Malbranque who marked his comeback from a thigh injury in fine style.

“This was a massive result for us. Both teams are crippled with injuries so we knew this was never going to be easy,” he said.

“I thought we dominated the opening 45 minutes and were unlucky to enter half-time level.

“They came at us immediately after the break and huffed and puffed at the end.

“But we held strong and it was a game where I always thought one goal would win it.

“If Malbranque had been 100% fit then he would have started the game, but he wasn’t quite right so he started on the bench. But we got the three points and that’s all that matters.”

Antti Niemi made his Fulham debut after completing a £1million switch from Southampton earlier in the week and Coleman was impressed by his display.

“Niemi looked good. He was assured and made the right decisions. he got some punches in and has a calming effect on the defence,” he said.

But Coleman was furious a heavy challenge from Celestine Babayaro on Tomasz Radzinski went unpunished by referee Alan Wiley.

“It was a bad tackle. Anyone who thinks Tomasz dived should take a look at the four stud marks on his shin. It went unpunished as well,” he said.