Jean Tigana

Monday 4 February 2002

Jean Tigana is well aware how difficult it is to bring big names to Fulham.

Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed may have got old pal Michael Jackson to take a stroll around Craven Cottage in the past, but Tigana cannot attract a footballing equivalent as yet.

The Fulham manager has explained that when it comes to attracting top talent, it's all about Europe.

Tigana would love to bring more stars to West London, but sadly for the Frenchman, he cannot offer the lure of the Champions League just yet.

"My squad is not very big - that is the problem," sighed Tigana. "We have had many players injured and it is difficult, but we learn at this level.

"It is difficult to bring in a good striker, because a good striker wants to play in the European Cup."

Fulham have been linked with a host of big names over the last few months, and were close to signing Valencia striker John Carew earlier in the season.

But with the club currently thankful to be in the top-flight, it is a struggle to get the likes of Carew, a veteran of a European Cup final, to put pen to paper.

"The problem this season is many players did not want to come," Tigana continued. "In England many people know about Fulham, but in different countries nobody knows about Fulham.

"That is why it was difficult for me to buy a player at the start of this season. Many players want to play in the European Cup

"It's like when I tried to buy John (Arne) Riise. In the end he signed for Liverpool because he can play in the Champions League.

"We need to build step by step - it's not an easy job but it is a good job."

Tigana feels Fulham can finish seventh this season. That would be a fine achievement given this is their first season in the Premiership.

But should the club qualify for a place in the UEFA Cup then Craven Cottage could become that little more attractive.