Fulham V Swansea at Craven Cottage : Match Preview

22 November 2013 04:31
Fulham V Swansea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Jol - I initiated Meulensteen call

Martin Jol insists he was the mastermind behind Rene Meulensteen's appointment as Fulham's new head coach.

Meulensteen's arrival after the 4-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Liverpool two weeks ago was thought to have increased the pressure on Jol with the former Anzhi Makhachkala boss viewed as the club's manager in waiting.

Fulham are third from bottom in the table and have lost their last four matches in all competitions with Swansea visiting Craven Cottage on Saturday.

But Jol has revealed that it was his decision to recruit Meulensteen, who left Manchester United's coaching team in the summer before a brief spell at Anzhi, in an attempt to ignite their ascent up the Premier League.

"I'm really pleased he's here. I thought he was making a choice to go elsewhere - first to Germany and then Qatar," Jol said.

"It was maybe by coincidence that I texted him again and he said that he'd come back to England.

"We needed something, more rhythm. We weren't playing with rhythm and we needed more energy.

"I thought we needed something and he's the right guy. But now we need the results. There's a new spirit and a good spirit."

Fulham face Swansea without centre-back Brede Hangeland who continues to nurse a sciatic nerve problem with Jol unable to set a date for his return.

"It's a real problem with Brede and he won't be involved. Each week I thought he'd come back but he hasn't," Jol said.

Jol admires Swansea's progress since their entrance into the Premier League in 2011 but points out that Fulham have produced superior results during the same period.

"The Liverpool defeat was two weeks ago. There's a new game coming up and we want to do better," he said.

"Swansea play in a very good way that is probably the way we'd like to play.

"Over the last couple of years Swansea have done extremely well, but over the same period we have more points than them.

"That's very positive and people don't notice it, but it's true. We're ready for this match."

Fulham defender Brede Hangeland will miss out because of a sciatic nerve problem.

Right-back Sascha Riether serves the second match of his three-game suspension while Damien Duff and Hugo Rodellega are out with groin problems.

Matthew Briggs is sidelined after undergoing a hernia operation, but 17-year-old French striker Moussa Dembele has been added to the squad as cover.

Fulham may currently occupy a place in the relegation zone, but Swansea defender Ben Davies fully expects the Cottagers to be in the Barclays Premier League next season.

Jol's side sit 18th in the table with 10 points from their opening 11 league fixtures.

Fulham have lost their last three league games, but know they would leapfrog Swansea with a win over the Welsh club at Craven Cottage.

The London side claimed a handsome 3-0 win over the Swans on the final weekend of last season and, with players of the calibre of Dimitar Berbatov, Bryan Ruiz and Adel Taarabt on their books, Davies has no doubt they will remain a top-flight outfit beyond the end of the season.

"Everybody has seen the quality they have got in that team and they have shown they can cause any side in the Premier League problems on their day," he said.

"They put a good performance in against us here last season and that shows we can't underestimate them.

"I don't know about them maybe being in a false position, they always seem to be there or thereabouts, but no-one considers them strugglers because of the quality in the side."

Swansea are themselves winless in five games in all competitions and sit 13th in the table.

The Swans are just a point worse off than they were at this stage last season - which they finished in ninth - but left-back Davies admits Michael Laudrup's side have yet to hit their stride.

"I think in some way it's fair to say we have not been at our best," he said. "There have been times where we haven't reached the standards we have over the last couple of years.

"Expectations are higher this year because of what we have achieved in the past and it is always difficult to maintain and better what we have done.

"But as players know we haven't reached our best so we have to do everything can to get there.

"We are only a point behind where we were this time last year and, if you look at it in a positive light, we have done that without having reached our best.

"We're going into the game looking to get three points and it is up to us deliver a performance good enough to get them."

Swansea will again be without Michu and Pablo Hernandez.

Michu will be out until the start of December with his ankle injury while Hernandez has suffered a recurrence of a thigh problem and also remains on the sidelines.

Garry Monk has undergone knee surgery but Ashley Williams has suffered no problems since his return from an ankle problem, while Michel Vorm is back having served a suspension against Stoke.

Source: PA