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Barca hampered by archaic FIFA

Barcelona 18 hours ago
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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
6:30 PM GMT
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 1, 2006

Coleman desperate for cash to strengthen squad

Fulham manager Chris Coleman will plead with owner Mohamed Al Fayed to fund new signings because one point out of nine since Christmas has dragged the Cottagers back into relegation danger.

Fulham took on Chelsea, Aston Villa and Portsmouth in six days - two of those games away from home - without injured key players Papa Bouba Diop, Steed Malbranque, Claus Jensen, Moritz Volz and with half-fit veteran goalkeeper Mark Crossley.

But the best they managed was a 3-3 draw against Villa at Craven Cottage and, although the giant Diop could be back from a damaged hip at home to rock-bottom Sunderland tomorrow, Coleman insisted: 'We need reinforcements.'

He added: 'I'll be sitting down with the chairman very soon and finding out what can be done.

'We've already had a quiet talk if you like. We are terribly short and I'm afraid this fixture list and heavy pitches, like the one at Portsmouth, has not done us any favours.

'Sylvain Legwinski and Heidar Helguson both got injured in the defeat at Portsmouth and we will have to see how they shape up for Monday but although Diop might be back there will be no Malbranque, no Jensen, no Volz, no Crossley.

'I don't know who I can put in now unless it is a couple of kids but we'll have to make sure Diop is there even if he's not 100 per cent. We need his presence.

'I'm sure the chairman will see what I need. I know people say he does not have as much interest in the club these days but he's spent a lot of his personal fortune in the past on it and he still wants success.

'I could see even before I got the job as manager they were looking at the long-term plan not to spend so much money but I think now it's important we have to spend some more to get some decent players because we are getting found out.'

Coleman insists he is desperate not to sell top players like Diop, Malbranque and Luis Boa Morte who have all been monitored closely by Premiership rivals, but he says: 'What we have to get is a healthy squad because we haven't had that for two or three months now and we are being punished for it.

'I've never thought we were out of the relegation dog-fight. We've have had some great results at home but not backed it up away.

'Against Portsmouth we know the goal (Fulham felt Gary O'Neil handled) should not have been given. I've seen it on the monitor and it was definitely hand-ball in the build-up.

'But to be honest after we'd missed our chances at the start we didn't achieve a lot. I expect the state of the pitch contributed to that - not what top athletes expect to perform on - but I wasn't impressed by our passing or application.

'Sunderland are at the bottom and we've got to get some points because of the number of bodies that will still be missing, but we can't expect to get away with our problems forever.'