Coleman throws down gauntlet to Chelsea
Fulham boss Chris Coleman has laid out his high expectations of Saturday's derby clash with Chelsea, demanding that his team send Jose Mourinho's superstars 'packing from our manor.'
In language more reminiscent of London's East End than the leafy confines of SW6, Coleman has recognised that Fulham need to engage Chelsea in an old-fashioned derby scrap if they are to have any chance of taking three points away from Craven Cottage.
Coleman said: 'We're not competing with Chelsea for honours but we're competing for the day and they're on our patch.
'We must send them packing from our manor - it's as simple as that.
'It's another game, 11 v 11. I used to love these games - playing against the big boys down the road.'
Fulham are missing several key players for Saturday's clash including Jimmy Bullard, Ahmad Elrich, Simon Elliott, Mark Pembridge, Philippe Christanval and the dynamic Luis Boa Morte, but Coleman refuses to let this dampen his enthusiasm for the tie.
He said: 'We can't go into the game thinking we've done well up to now, we've got eight points, nobody expected us to be in the top 10 and we're missing four or five key players. Nonsense.
'I know Jose and he's right when he says that Fulham's players always raise their game against Chelsea because they do. This is a bigger game for us than it is for them.
'Chelsea's big games are Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. For us Chelsea are the big rivals from up the road.
'They're a big club and have to stand up to them - that's the challenge. We must press them and win the battle.'
Fulham have endured a mixed start to the season, riding high in eighth place in the Premiership, but going out of the Carling Cup on Wednesday night after losing 2-1 to League Two side Wycombe.
Chelsea are riding high in the league, having only lost once in the Premiership this season, but will be missing Michael Ballack after his red card against Liverpool earned him a three match ban. However, with Dutch international Arjen Robben his most likely replacement, Chelsea's strength in depth remains self evident.
Last season's shock 1-0 triumph over the Blues ended Fulham's 27-year wait for success over their more illustrious neighbours.