Roy Hodgson has gone back to basics in order to try and put a spring in Fulham’s step as he looks to save his new club from relegation.

The veteran manager, a surprise choice to succeed Lawrie Sanchez at Craven Cottage, has identified a lack of fitness as a serious problem having watched his new charges fade alarmingly to lose the west London derby against Chelsea on New Year’s Day despite taking the lead through a Danny Murphy penalty. He has introduced double training sessions down at Motspur Park, with many activities focusing on defensive shape without a football in sight.

Hodgson has told longstanding associates that he is confident there is enough quality at the club to dramatically improve on performance levels under Sanchez and nothing has yet changed his mind about the likelihood of guiding the Whites to safety.

Defender Dejan Stefanovic revealed that tactical preparations have dramatically changed under the new regime:

“For the last couple of days we’ve been working on the shape of the team because for him this is one of the most important things – especially after we lost so many goals in the last couple of minutes. We need to sort it out as soon as possible and he is the guy who is going to sort it out. The Gaffer wants us to be focussed for 90 minutes and keep the shape for 90 minutes no matter what’s happening.”