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Fulham manager Chris Coleman hopes his side’s worst performance of the season will serve as a turning point.

The Cottagers’ 10-match unbeaten run – that included seven draws – ground to a shuddering halt at Bramall Lane with a woeful display.

Coleman’s side failed to test Blades goalkeeper Paddy Kenny at any stage, while United’s first half goals in the space of five minutes from Jon Stead and Michael Tonge were deserved.

Stead, a £750,000 signing from Sunderland three weeks ago, had failed to score in his previous 10 matches and had hit the net just once in 33 Premiership games prior to last night.

As for Tonge’s close-range finish, that was his first in the Premiership, ending a nine-month goal drought.

The scoreline could have been more emphatic, but on his return to the team after a 29-day lay-off with a neck injury, Antti Niemi made one superb save to deny Stephen Quinn.

Rob Hulse also struck the crossbar with an acrobatic effort in injury time, while a number of other chances went close.

“Had we come off with anything but a hammering, because that is what it was, then it would have been a travesty for Sheffield United,” said Coleman.

“From start to finish they dominated the game, winning all the duels in every area of the pitch.

“That is particularly disappointing from our point of view because for the last seven or eight games we have been right at it.

“But it was a poor performance, probably our poorest this season, and we didn’t deserve anything. But that happens sometimes.”

When asked as to the reason why, Coleman added: “Maybe because we have signed four new players and we think as our squad is bigger now it means we don’t have to work as hard.

“But we need to work just as hard, if not harder because now there is more competition for places.

“Also when you come into a game like this, from the second the referee blows the whistle to start it, you better be ready for it.

“Bramall Lane is a difficult place to come, and if you give a team like United an inkling you are not up for it, then they will take advantage – and they did.

“It’s the first time we’ve played that poorly for a couple of months, but maybe it’s what we’ve needed because we’ve had a lot of draws.

“We’re only nine points away from the danger area, and we still need a couple of wins, so hopefully this will be a turning point.

“We’ve Newcastle at home on Saturday and we have to be better than this, otherwise we’ll lose again.”