Select Page

Fulham may have failed to sign a new centre-back in the transfer window but boss Chris Coleman is happy with his existing defence.

The Cottagers were busy on the final day of business with Steed Malbranque joining Tottenham and Wayne Routledge moving in the opposite direction in a season-long loan deal.

Sylvain Legwinski signed for Ipswich, Coleman swooped for Czech goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka from FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Jaroslav Drobny’s contract was terminated.

Fulham fans will have been disappointed by the club’s inability to sign a new striker amid reports they were chasing Middlesbrough’s Massimo Maccarone.

But many believe it is the defence that is in most urgent need of reinforcements with the 5-1 opening-day drubbing at Old Trafford confirming suspicions that were raised last season.

Coleman, however, believes he already has sufficient numbers at the back.

“We’ve been looking at the defence. We bought Franck Queudrue while in pre-season Zat Knight looked very sharp,” he said.

“He looked like he had a point to prove, something I didn’t see for long periods last year.

“But Ian Pearce and Phillippe Christanval played very well together in pre-season and looked good against Bolton and Sheffield United.

“The penalty against Bolton had nothing to do with them. Zat played a lot of games last season and we didn’t keep enough clean sheets.

“That wasn’t just because of Zat, but Zat was a part of the defence. Our defence will stay the same until we have a couple of poor games.”

Veteran centre-back Pearce was singled out for heavy criticism after the Old Trafford debacle but following solid displays against Bolton and Sheffield United, Coleman insists keeping him fit is the biggest concern.

“People look at modern-day centre-halves who are often lightning quick and good on the ball. But nine times out of 10 they don’t know where to stand,” he said.

“They can make up that ground if they’re quick but their starting positions are wrong for everyone else. Ian Pearce is not electric but he’s quick enough and has a good head on him.

“Keeping Pearcey fit is the main thing. He’s had a lot of problems with his back because he’s a big lad. If we get 20-25 games out of him and he keeps on doing what he’s doing, then I’ll be delighted.”

Routledge’s arrival has helped ease the disappointment at the departure of Malbranque.

Coleman was desperate to offload the French contract rebel before the window closed with Tottenham replacing West Ham as his preferred destination.

But in terms of proven Premiership performers, it has been a lean summer for Fulham who have only signed Queudrue and Jimmy Bullard with top-flight experience.