Lawrie Sanchez is desperate to add a victory over Arsenal to his list of giantkilling acts – but insists keeping Fulham up by any means possible is his main priority.
Sanchez’s three-year spell as Northern Ireland coach has seen the international minnows topple England, Sweden and Spain and draw with Portugal.
The 47-year-old was appointed caretaker-boss at Craven Cottage until the end of the season in the hope his magical tough would rub off on the club as they battle against relegation.
Victory over Arsenal on Sunday could prove enough to keep them safe and Sanchez knows an upset at the Emirates Stadium might convince Fulham’s board to give him the job on a permanent basis.
But he insists he values the club’s top-flight status above his own ambition.
“If we can get three draws from our three remaining games and limp over the line that would be enough, and I’d take that because this is not about me,” he said.
“It’s about the club and the players, who represent the fans, making sure we’re in the Premiership next year.
“It would be nice if we beat Arsenal and everyone said well done to me, but it’s not about that.
“This is a great opportunity for me to show what I can do in the Premiership.
“Sixteen days into the 32-day contract I believe I’m up to managing in the Premiership. If it’s not here then it will be somewhere else.
“Some people have said I’m in a win-win situation here but I’m not. My reputation is on the line and I don’t want to see that sullied by relegation.
“I’ll blame myself if we do go down. Games like Sunday are what football is all about.”
Sanchez spent a day with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger last season, watching the Gunners training and picking the Frenchman’s brains.
But while he admires Arsenal’s attacking style, it is the steely resolve of his former club Wimbledon during the 1980s that he hopes to emulate at Craven Cottage.
Sanchez, who was a member of the ‘Crazy Gang’ and scored in the 1988 FA Cup Final victory over Liverpool, compares the winning mentality of that Dons side to Chelsea’s.
“Our team at Wimbledon was full of internationals but we also had a steel to our game that is a characteristic of English football,” he said.
“You couldn’t have that steel in the modern game. If you go to Chelsea at this moment in time you’ll find a winning dressing room.
“It will be no different to the dressing room we had at Wimbledon, although some of the antics won’t be the name.
“But the actual mentality will be no different because that’s what winning teams have, whether it was Chelsea today or Wimbledon of 20 years ago.
“We need to bring that winning mentality to Fulham and when you have won just seven in 35 you don’t have a great winning mentality.
“At Wimbledon we weren’t a happy dressing room at times but when we crossed the line we crossed the line as a team, whatever our opinions of each other.
“In some dressing room that conflicts works, in others it doesn’t. If there was a simple formula to be successful, every team would be doing it.”