sport

Rene still confident on battle

Rene Meulensteen remained confident when asked about Fulham's survival chances following a 2-1 loss to Tottenham.

After Fulham took the lead through Ashkan Dejagah's impressive effort just before the hour mark, Meulensteen will have hoped that his charges could hold out for a win on his managerial debut in England after replacing Martin Jol.

Two stunning late goals from first Vlad Chiriches and then Lewis Holtby left the hosts reeling however, and they remain in the relegation places with 14 games played.

"Well, we're bitterly disappointed of course," Meulensteen told Sky Sports.

"Playing so well, working so hard and coming away with nothing is hard to take.

"I can't ask any more of the players, they were magnificent."

Despite the disappointment, Meulensteen remained positive over Fulham's prospects of staying in the Premier League.

"Yes, we've lost the game and the three points, but we've won in many other fields tonight. The discipline and shape was fantastic."

Asked whether he believes Fulham can stave off relegation, Meulensteen was belligerent.

"Absolutely. I refuse to be negative, and I thrive on that. We are, at the moment, where we have to swallow these bitter pills.

"We have to take heart from these performances, and we'll turn it around."

The new Fulham boss also reserved special praise for the home fans, and hoped that the performance could win them over after disgruntlement in recent weeks.

"The fans were fantastic. They were magnificent. They wanted an inspired performance, and hopefully the players have won the fans back."

Dimitar Berbatov was impressive on the night, just hours after his agent revealed that the striker wants a transfer from Craven Cottage in January.

Meulensteen appeared nonchalant over the subject when asked about the Bulgarian's future however, and lavished praise on the forward.

Asked whether he was worried that Berbatov could leave in January, Meulensteen replied: "No, not at all.

"I've not seen or heard what he's said, but if anyone knows Dimitar it's me.

"Look at that performance tonight and tell me he doesn't want to play for this club.

"If he continues playing at that level he's one of the three best players in the league."

Next up, Fulham face Aston Villa at home on Saturday, followed by Everton and Manchester City.

Meulensteen refused to be demoralised by the defeat against Spurs however, and insists he will motivate the players again come the weekend.

"We just go again. We're going to give it our all again against Aston Villa, and hopefully get a bit of luck back on our side.

"I've had a fortunate experience so far alongside Sir Alex Ferguson amongst others. We're going to embrace and enjoy the challenge."