Fulham 1 Birmingham 1: Mark Hughes still upbeat as Cottagers slip down the table

27 November 2010 10:26
Mark Hughes brushed aside talk of arelegation battle as Fulham slid to within three points of the bottomof the table after a fifth successive Premier League match without awin. [LNB]The Fulham boss, beset by injuries to his first-choice team, says there is no cause for concern. [LNB] Ful stop: Sebastian Larsson fires a free kick against the Fulham wall[LNB]'We're aware of where we are,' hesaid. 'But it's very tight and we're only five points away from seventhplace. We have to keep the belief, which I saw in abundance out theretoday, and we'll be fine. We just have to get the injured playersback.' [LNB]Against a Birmingham side who havenot won away since March, Fulham needed Clint Dempsey to save them witha second-half equaliser after Sebastian Larsson had put the visitorsahead against the run of play.[LNB] Hard times: Fulham manager Mark Hughes (left) and Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish on the touchline[LNB] But at least Fulham showed plentyof spirit after their feeble showing against Manchester City lastSunday, which earned a roasting from owner Mohamed Al Fayed.[LNB] 'I was really pleased with the way the players responded', said Hughes. [LNB]In a lively start Fulham almost went ahead but Aaron Hughes' volley was cleared off the line by Larsson. [LNB] American hot: Clint Dempsey scores Fulham's equaliser[LNB] [LNB]TEAMSFULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido (Pantsil 24min); Davies (E Johnson 73), D Murphy, Etuhu, Gera; Kamara, Dempsey. Subs (not used): Stockdale, Kelly, Duff, Dikgacoi, Greening. Booked: Dempsey.[LNB]BIRMINGHAM (4-5-1): Foster, Carr, R Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell; Larsson, Bowyer, Hleb (Zigic 61), Ferguson, Fahey (Murphy 85); Jerome. Subs (not used): Doyle,Phillips, Michel, Parnaby, Beausejour.[LNB]Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).[LNB]The Swedish winger then showed hisquality at the other end, calmly driving his shot into the bottomcorner after Alexander Hleb raced into the penalty area to set him up.[LNB]'It was one of those magnificent pieces of play that we associate with Hleb,' said Birmingham manager Alex McLeish, whose hopes of a first away win of the season were dashed when Zoltan Gera headed a corner from Simon Davies back across goal and Dempsey dived in to divert the ball past Ben Foster.[LNB] McLeish laughed off his side's inability to win away from home, after Scott Dann's late header came back off the crossbar.[LNB] 'We may not win away for two years but so long as we keep winning at home and stay in the Premier League, I'll be delighted,' said the Scot. [LNB]For these two teams, staying up is all that matters. [LNB] [LNB] [LNB] [LNB] Fulham boss Hughes keeps the faith after Fayed's training ground visitBoss McLeish vows to sort out new deal for Birmingham midfielder Seb LarssonBIRMINGHAM CITY FC

Source: Daily_Mail