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Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez is convinced his side are 10 minutes from becoming Barclays Premier League contenders.

The Cottagers, who host Blackburn on Sunday, have managed to win just two of their 13 league matches so far and have developed a tendency to let in late goals.

But Sanchez was convinced once his players were cured of that habit they would be able to make a real impression on the table.

He said: “It is a strange season. If a game ended at half-time we would be top, if it was 80 minutes we would be sixth or seventh and we are 13th after 90 minutes.

“Once we have learned to cope with those last 10 minutes we will be where I would like us to be.

“The question I have been asking myself, the staff and everyone involved with us is: ‘Are we 10 minutes away from being a very good team or is it coincidence?’

“You speak to some people and they say it is just coincidence but I would like to believe it is not because we wouldn’t be in that situation with 10 minutes to go after 13 games if we were not a good side.

“I am putting it down to inexperience at this level and knowing how to close out a game is a big thing you learn.”

Rovers arrive in London on the back of a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United that ended a most impressive run of seven straight wins and Sanchez admitted he would love to emulate Blackburn boss Mark Hughes in the team-building stakes.

He said: “He has done tremendously well with the Blackburn side and that is really a template of what I would like to achieve here over the next three years.

“He has a great squad and the teams who are up against them all know how good they are. We drew with them 1-1 last season and that was a crucial point towards avoiding relegation.

“You have the big four and then perhaps three or four who are pulling themselves away from the rest of us and Blackburn are in that category not based on their size or revenue but on what they have achieved on the field.

“He has done very well in the transfer market and some of the players he has bought have probably surpassed what he thought they would do.

“When he took over they were considered this ‘bash ’em up’ team that played long ball but all these things that were viewed as negatives at one stage have been turned round to be positives in that people now give them respect for it.”