Writer: Ollie Sheehan
Date:Saturday April 22 2006
With Fulham not playing at the weekend all is fairly quiet and low-key at the Cottage, so we turned our attention to Ray Houghton.
Houghton, being an ex-White, had his annual weekly say about the club and his interpretation of how Fulham's season has gone for them.
'I've been really impressed with Chris this season. It's been a major learning curve in his managerial career and I think he's come through it with flying colours.
'A lot of managers of his age and experience may have buckled under the pressure but he's stood up to it extremely well.
'He's got another year under his belt as a manager, and he's now seen the other side of the job where you don't always get the platitudes. He's had to take a bit of stick but he's stood firm, believed in the players and it's worked for him.'
However, Houghton believes that despite all the problems that Fulham have had this season, there is no excuse for the team not living up to its full potential.
'Mind you, it's easy to look back over a season use the absence of key players as an excuse for underperforming. Injuries are part and parcel of every season, and every club in the League will have faced the same problems.
'Arsenal could claim that their campaign would have been different had Cole and Campbell been fit - every club could find an equivalent. But that's why you have a squad - it's all about cover in every position.'
Despite crushing any fears of relegation with the 3-2 weekend win over Charlton, Houghton is more adament than ever that his beloved Cottagers should keep the momentum going right up until the end of the season.
Chris Coleman's side still have games to play at home to Wigan on Monday, away to Manchester City next Saturday, the crucial game away to Sunderland on May the 4th, before rounding off the season three days later at home to Middlesbrough.
And Houghton believes that Fulham should push for a strong, confident finish to carry into next season.
'They should want to show the fans that there's something to look forward to next season, and they should never forget that the manager will be already making his plans for next season.
'So there is every incentive for Fulham on Monday, and for the rest of the remaining games.'
Date:Saturday April 22 2006
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