Fulham manager Chris Coleman has paid tribute to his side after they battled back for a 1-1 draw at home to Portsmouth.
Ian Pearce’s late deflected strike bagged a point for The Cottagers, less than half an hour after he almost had to leave the game due to injury, an achievement which Coleman was exceptionally pleased with.
“I was thinking of substituting him, because we didn’t want any serious damage,” said Coleman.
“He wouldn’t have come off anyway. He wanted to stay at the back. The fact he got injured due to a challenge preventing them from scoring and the next minute he scores the goal that wins it, well, he deserves it.”
Coleman’s side were pegged back early on thanks to a wonder-goal from Niko Kranjcar, but the Welshman believes his side were fully deserving of their point.
“It would have been a travesty if we’d have lost it,” he continued.
“They were difficult conditions, very windy. Our boys kept trying to play football though. We always try to play football.”
Fulham were left frustrated in the game thanks to the goalkeeping heroics of Portsmouth’s David James, and many fans would have believed a defeat would have dragged their side into the relegation fight.
“It’s a nervous time because it’s the business end of the season. They got ten men behind the ball, but we kept trying to play and I’m pleased.
“In my book, he [James] is pushing Paul Robinson all the way for England.
“People say he makes mistakes but if you commit yourself as much as he does, well, you’re a tremendous goalkeeper.”
The draw ends a week in which newspapers have reported Coleman could be set to leave Craven Cottage, but he says he has no intention of leaving.
“I’ve been here for a long time. I was saying people get bored and that’s not a throw-away remark,” he said.
“When you’re somewhere for a long time you need a change, but I love it here.
“It’s my fourth year and I think we’ll stay in the league again.
“What I was saying is if we want to get to the next level, and I’m not the man to do it, maybe it’s time for a change.
“We’re progressing. I had a five-year plan when I took the job on. I want to be in the top ten and some people are unhappy that we’re not.
“I’m 100% confident that we’ll stay in the league, so let’s see what happens.
“It may be my fault because I’ve been talking top 10. Aim high or you won’t get there. Like I say, it’s a touchy time of the season.
“We need a couple of wins, which we will get. I’m 100% confident of that.”
Coleman’s side now find themselves in 14th place, just five points off a place in the top half.