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Feb 7, 2014

Meulensteen: I still have Khan's support

Rene Meulensteen says he still has the “full support” of Fulham owner Shahid Kahn, despite ongoing speculation that he is set to be replaced by Alan Curbishley.

• Meulensteen seeks Fergie advice
• Mison: Fulham future imperfect
• Brewin: Clock ticking for Meulensteen

The bottom-placed Premier League side’s season reached a nadir on Tuesday night, as they were eliminated from the FA Cup by League One Sheffield United, leading to widespread speculation that Meulensteen would be sacked after just 16 games.

Rene Meulensteen tasted defeat in his first match as Fulham manager.
Rene Meulensteen has struggled to inspire a turnaround at Fulham since replacing Martin Jol.

But while the former Manchester United coach confirmed he did speak with Kahn after the game, he says the only message was to “stay focused.”

“I have been in contact with him, keeping good dialogue. [Kahn has been] giving full support, making sure we stay focused and optimistic. There are still a lot of games and a lot of points to play for, and that’s what I intend to do.

“Of course it is important, but more important is that I know the job I need to do with the players, that is what makes the difference eventually and that is what will turn things around.”

Set to face former club United on Sunday, Meulensteen said the “challenge” at the bottom of the table is the same as at the top.

“Well, people keep reminding about the pressure. I don’t see it as pressure, I see it as a challenge. Life throws challenges at you, and that’s what you need to deal with, to rise to the challenge.

“At the top, you are constantly making sure you prepare to win the next game, to make sure you stay on top or get at the top to win the title. When you’re in the bottom, you want to win the next game to make sure you get out of it.”

Meanwhile, Meulensteen has said Fulham have enjoyed a huge “lift” from the loan signing of Lewis Holtby from Tottenham Hotspur.

“Class. [He is an] absolutely class player,” Meulensteen said. “He has lifted the whole place with his energy, he’s got such a bright personality, he breathes football, he’s got a great knowledge about the game, and it’s just been a very positive factor coming in.”

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