Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez says he is not worried about slipping into the Premier League relegation zone. The Cottagers lost 2-0 to Portsmouth on Sunday to drop into the bottom three – but Sanchez says the true test will come in the club’s next three games.

“We have played a lot of tough matches recently,” said Sanchez. “Now we have an important sequence coming up.

“We play Derby, Sunderland and Reading – teams we should be looking to beat – and it will show if we’re good enough.”

He added: “Every manager is under pressure but it is early days yet.

“I hate being in the bottom three but it is no extra pressure until you come to the last third of the season.”

Fulham have won only once in the league all season – against Bolton in August – and were beaten at home by Bolton in the Carling Cup in September.

But Sanchez, who spent £20m revamping the Fulham squad in the summer, says draws with Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea shows the Cottagers are a good side.

He said: “We lost 2-1 to both Arsenal and Aston Villa in our first four games and then played at Chelsea last week and got a point – and we were never out of any of those matches.

“We did well against Spurs and Man City too and on Sunday Portsmouth showed they are a top side, there is no doubt about that.

“They are definitely among the European-chasers this season – they are a big, athletic side.

“Once they were ahead they were able to sit back and soak us up.”