Lawrie Sanchez says he is fully focused on keeping Fulham in the Premier League after being drafted in to try and save the Whites from relegation.
The Northern Ireland boss was handed a 32-day contract by Fulham chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed after the Cottagers sacked Chris Coleman following Monday’s defeat at the hands of Manchester City. Sanchez, who still intends to see out his Northern Ireland contract, believes he can keep Fulham afloat and will attempt to earn a full-time deal at Craven Cottage in the final five games of the season.
“I took the job because I was asked. I’ve got a 32-day contract here. When this opportunity came up, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. It’s a challenge. For the next 32 days I’ll be totally focussed on Fulham. We (Northern Ireland) don’t play until August.
“I can concentrate on this job until the end of the season. I’ve always felt like a Premiership manager. Everyone will be assessing my trial, but it’s not a bad trial to be having. If I was to win all five games I think I’d have quite a good justification to say I can do the job here. Likewise, if I were to lose all five games, there would be every justification to say you can’t do the job here.
“Where in between it falls will decide whether I’m here or not next season. I know that I can do the international job and a top job at the same time. I think it is possible to do both. It’s nice to be involved on a day-to-day basis. It’s been very, very enjoyable. It’s a lovely club.
“My job over the course of the next 32 days is to see Fulham safely into next term’s Premiership. I would like to think we could achieve 40 points. That is the target. 40 points should be safe. The sooner we can get them the better. I wouldn’t like go to Middlesbrough on the last day of the season having to look at fixtures around us.”
Sanchez was full of praise for the Irish Football Association after they allowed him the chance to take a top flight job in England.
“Once my association okayed it I was here, basically. The people at the IFA have been first class. They want the players as well as the managers to do as well as they can. They realise that it’s a small association with great hopes. When the chance came, they wouldn’t stand in my way.
“The proviso was they would like me to fulfil my contract. I want to do that. We’re top of a group and we are in a situation where we could qualify for a major finals.”