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Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was still almost wildly optimistic about his team’s chances of dodging relegation – despite admitting they still probably need five wins from their last 10 matches having won only three of the first 28.

He said: ‘I don’t think five wins is an impossible task, It’s a big task but not impossible.

‘Manchester United have a wealth of talent. Three-nil sounds as though we’ve been totally outplayed but I don’t think that was the case. We were not outclassed.

‘For me it is simply back to work but not back to the drawing board because a lot of our football shows a lot of promise.

‘We must try to keep people’s heads up and attack these last 10 games. I knew it would be very tough when I came here. I’d done my research but I’ve been very pleased with the response I’ve had from the players, the way they have approached the task.

‘I’m sad but not downhearted.’