Coleman's Confidence

Thursday 26 August 2004

Chris Coleman was in typically forthright mood as he discussed his side's 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough on Wednesday night. It was a disappointing display and the Fulham manager pulled no punches in his post-match press conference.

...THE CONTRAST IN PERFORMANCE TO SATURDAY.

"It was two different teams. It was a huge disappointment. After the first twenty minutes they were better that us, stronger than us, and showed more desire. I thought towards the end of the first half we started to create a little bit more, but then in the second half we were poor again.

"They wanted to win the game, they looked like they wanted to win the game, and we looked like we thought we just had to turn up because of what happened Saturday. It just doesn't work like that.

"There wasn't a lot in it up to half time, and at the break I asked our lads to push on and go for it; for the two midfield players to lock on to Parlour and Boateng a bit more so we could release Claus Jensen - not to screen off so much, and they've done us on the counter.

"So I'll take some responsibility - we've gone for it a bit in the second half. But they way they were carving us open at times, and our poor defensive positioning and our poor defensive play was very disappointing.

"We can't just turn up and think we're a good team. We've got to be the underdogs - we got used to that last season. But now there is a bigger expectancy from people, they look at us and think we're a decent team. If we start thinking we're a decent team then we're going to get those results.

"It was complacency, simple as that. I don't mind taking some responsibility, I tried to change it at half time a bit, but certainly my players need to take more responsibility - and they will do."

...ON MAKING CHANGES.

"If I had a brand new set of eleven players I'd play them on Monday, because the eleven who were out there didn't produce, right through, simple as that.

"It's black and white to me and it should be black and white to the lads. We won the game Saturday because we fought harder than Bolton - we won 50-50 tackles, we won the second balls, we anticipated better and we had more energy.

"We've got to be like that nine games out of ten, because we rarely win games when we're not one hundred per cent. We're not good enough, simple as that, especially in a league like the Premiership.

"We have progressed, but not that much. We've still got to show the same commitment and desire. Normally my lads will always have a go. Sometimes we'll have a go, play well and lose because of the quality of the opposition, but rarely do we put up a performance like that for ninety minutes. We looked lacklustre and looked like we'd run out of ideas.

"But sometimes you've got to put bad performances to bed and forget about them. We've got to start planning for Portsmouth, and I'll be surprised if the performance next Monday is similar to that one. I'll be very disappointed if it is.

"We've still got a long way to go, and I'm sure I'll be sitting here again this season after another bad performance thinking it's the end of the world. But I've got confidence in the lads - I think we can beat anybody in the division, I really do, but we can also lose to anybody in the division, and that's the way it is.

...ON PORTSMOUTH.

"It's another tough game coming up against Portsmouth. And then we've got a ten-day break. It would be disappointing to go down there and put in a another performance like that, because then we've got a long time before we could put it right - and the next game after Portsmouth is Arsenal...."