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Chris Coleman accepted the blame for Fulham’s defeat at Blackburn Rovers after changing from the system that had delivered a fantastic win over Arsenal in midweek.

The Fulham manager said: “I hold my hands up. I changed the shape of the team and that never worked. We were tired. It was a fantastic performance in midweek but very taxing. But we should have closed ranks if we were tired and denied Blackburn.

‘We were slow and sluggish in the first half. We did not defend like we should. When you give away a goal early on it is very difficult but the second goal was offside. It has been a stop-start season and I do not like that. We are on 20 points and that is fine but we play well one week and not the next.’

Fulham goalkeeper Antti Niemi will be out for up to a month after undergoing surgery on a knee injury.

Niemi was replaced by Jan Lastuvka for the visit to Blackburn and Coleman said: ‘Antti needed a small operation. He had a little bit of cartilage floating around. He should back in three weeks to a month.’

Lastuvka, on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, certainly had a baptism of fire in his first Premiership start as Blackburn secured their first win in seven league games.

Coleman thought the Czech Republic stopper acquitted himself well.

He said: ‘It was difficult for him to come in today and obviously he was nervous but overall I thought he was okay.’

Nonda made the breakthrough in the sixth minute when Stephane Henchoz launched the ball forward. Zat Knight allowed him to turn and fire a shot beyond the stranded Lastuvka.

McCarthy extended the lead with his first goal since October, his effort coming off Fulham defender Ian Pearce.