Chris Coleman was furious after being told that his four years in charge of Fulham was coming to an end following the defeat by Manchester City on Easter Monday.

The former club captain was dismissed alongside assistant Steve Kean in the aftermath of a damaging defeat at Craven Cottage that extended Fulham’s winless run to seven games. The Whites had only picked up three points in that time – prompting decisive action from club chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed, who moved to appoint Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez as a firefighter until the end of the season.

Coleman believes he deserved more time to right the ship after four years at the helm that began with him rescuing the Whites from a similar situation after replacing Jean Tigana at short notice. A source close to the sacked manager told the Daily Mirror: “The owner lost his nerve – it’s as simple as that. Chris still had the confidence of the players and even though the club had some tough games coming up the teams below still had it all to do to get out of trouble. Chris is gutted. Only yesterday he was talking about being up for the fight and being determined to turn things around. But he still wants what’s best for the club.”

The likeable Welshman had been working under severe financial constraints at Craven Cottage and had kept the Londoners in the top flight despite having to sell a key player every season. Fulham had survived the departures of Louis Saha and Edwin van der Sar to Manchester United and Sean Davis and Steed Malbranque to Tottenham and Coleman’s sacking stands in stark contrast to the decision of fellow strugglers Manchester City and West Ham to keep faith in Stuart Pearce and Alan Curbishley respectively.