Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez is unable to throw himself into the seasonal spirit as he faces up to a grim relegation scrap over the holiday period with his faltering team.

A second-half hat-trick from Everton’s Nigerian striker Yakubu maintained Fulham’s by now traditional away-day miseries with the Londoners collecting just three points from an available 24 on their travels this campaign.

Sanchez, correctly, said referee Steve Bennett had missed an offside decision in the build-up to Yakubu’s 51st-minute opener.

But that excuse was as half-hearted as Fulham’s second-half showing and Sanchez said, with home games against struggling Newcastle and Wigan in the next two weeks, they need to start winning.

Sanchez said: “It’s a waste of time talking about ifs, buts and maybes. We need to bring some points home and we have to start by doing it in those games.

“If not, it becomes a real dogfight over Christmas and I don’t think anybody in the bottom half is safe at the moment.

“We are looking at doing better than we are doing.”