Tigana's relief

Tuesday 9 April 2002

Fulham manager Jean Tigana was relieved to see his side avoid yet another defeat after they snatched a 1-1 draw against Newcastle on Monday night.

French striker Louis Saha's late equaliser eased Fulham's relegation fears, and his compatriot believes that four more points will be sufficient for Fulham to avoid the drop.

"Four more points will be enough, I hope," said Tigana, but this is unknown territory for the Fulham manager who has not been involved in a relegation scrap before.

He said: "I have never had a team at the bottom and sometimes you can't shout at your players when you are at the bottom.

"You have to learn together and it can be very frustrating sometimes, but for me it is still a fantastic experience."

Tigana will enjoy the experience far more if there is a happy ending, and for much of Monday night that seemed unlikely.

A lack of cutting edge in front of goal has not tallied with Tigana's expensive outlay on new strikers, including record signing Steve Marlet.

But Saha, who has suffered more than most in the last few months, was in the right place to deflect Sean Davis' volley past Shay Given for the equaliser.

That goal secured Fulham's second point from a possible 27, a wretched record which has seen the Cottagers slip from mid-table comfort to the relegation dogfight in a matter of weeks.

Tigana knows that a lack of goals has cost Fulham this season, but he insists that it remains a learning experience for a young squad still finding its feet in the top flight.

"I ask my team to keep playing all the time but the question is one of confidence for the strikers and midfielders," he said.

"It is normal because players have to learn, but it is difficult for me because we have a new team and when you are troubled inside it is difficult to play well."

Tigana will be hoping his players feel a whole lot better inside after Monday's 1-1 draw against one of the Premiership's front runners.

Source: Nationwide