Roy Hodgson has been a lone voice in recent weeks, talking up Fulham’s survival chances while everyone else was writing them off. Yesterday, after surely one defeat too many, Hodgson finally appeared resigned to the fact that the club’s seven-year membership of the elite is all but over.

Hodgson possesses one of the most respected CVs in the business, having coached all over the world. Few figures speak with more authority on the fundamentals of the game, but taking over an ailing Premiership club in mid-season with precious little time to impose fresh methodology and tactics comes with its own distinct pressures.

All the Fulham manager wanted to do in the moments that followed the most gut-wrenching result of his brief tenure at Craven Cottage was leave the floor gracefully without losing his dignity. He looked, for the first time since arriving in December, a totally forlorn figure.

“It’s a minor consolation that the other results went for us and that we have not been pushed further behind but there are only five games left and we are still six points adrift,” said Hodgson. “I’m devastatated by the result and very sad.”

“Our first-half performance gave me hope but we made bad mistakes for the goals and paid the price,” said Hodgson. “I’m not giving up the ghost. It’ll be very hard now to lift the players.”