sport

Rene left at rock bottom

Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen admitted his side had hit rock bottom as they were dumped out of the FA Cup by League 1 Sheffield United.

Shaun Miller scored the only goal of a tepid fourth round replay at Craven Cottage in the final minute of extra time as the visitors claimed a second Premier League scalp after defeating Aston Villa in round three.

The humiliating cup exit piles further pressure on Meulensteen with Fulham currently propping up the Premier League and four points from safety.

Having only been appointed in place of Martin Jol at the beginning of December, Meulensteen insisted prior to the game that he still has the backing of owner Shahid Khan.

But after an insipid performance against the League 1 strugglers the Fulham boss, who is up against former club Manchester United on Sunday, admitted that the only way is up.

"We know that we've only got ourselves to blame," Meulensteen said.

"At the end of the day, that's what we need to do. We need to look each other in the eye and say, 'Let's pick ourselves up and dig ourselves out of it.'

"If you talk about this game and you say, 'Have we hit rock-bottom?' We probably have. OK, fine, that's it.

"And if we have hit rock-bottom, it can't get any worse and it can only get better, so that's what we need to work for."

Meulensteen is favourite with the bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager sacked, but he claims to have no concerns on that score at the moment.

"Listen, (the owner's confidence) will only last until that is gone," Meulensteen added.

"Until that time, I will just keep doing the job the best I can. I have no worries in that respect at all."

Asked if this was the worst performance since he succeeded Jol, he added: "Yeah, definitely.

"It is very disappointing. It is as bad as the weather - the result, the outcome, the performance. That sums it up. It was a poor night all-round.

"It is no big secret (why we performed like this). When you get into a situation where the results aren't going for you, when you are playing well and putting in a lot of effort, bit by bit it keeps knocking your confidence and what you saw today was a team that lacked confidence.

"You could see that in some of the performances. There was not enough cutting edge and quality at times.

"Then you see trends in the game, really, that you don't want to see in terms of the way I want to play.

"We knew Sheffield United would work hard, get a lot of bodies behind the ball.

"That is not an excuse and we had to break them down. On the night, it wasn't good enough."